Las Vegas’ buzzed-about Downtown Project might be pulling in the reins.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and investor and board member in Downtown Project, has announced the restructuring and refocusing of its corporate support staff, which prompted 30 employees to be laid off.
The project, launched in 2012, aims to revitalize downtown Las Vegas. Several hundred companies and legal entities are involved in the initiative.
In a company statement, Hsieh said for those operations that are 100 percent owned and operated by Downtown Project-affiliated entities, there are more than 300 people directly employed. Additionally, “through our investments, there are over 800 people working in our portfolio of companies in downtown Las Vegas.” he said. He added that later this week, about 30 positions will be added to Downtown Project as it opens up The Market (grocery store).
By all accounts, the project is a massive undertaking. While it has been largely well-received, it has also come under scrutiny from some Las Vegas players and members of the national press. This week, several outlets reported that Hsieh has stepped down as CEO and leader of the project.
Hsieh responded in a statement: “I am the CEO of Zappos.com, but I’ve never referred to myself as the CEO of Downtown Project, and I’ve never considered myself as being in ‘day-to-day management’ of Downtown Project. My role continues to be as an investor, advisor and equivalent of a board member that sets high-level general direction and strategy but is not involved in day-to-day management of people or projects. My level of involvement at Downtown Project is the same as it was six months ago.
“At this time, we are focused on streamlining our operations as we continue to execute on our plans,” Hsieh continued. “Doing so requires that we restructure our operations and focus on follow-on investments. We continue to evaluate all of our initiatives in terms of those that achieve the right balance ROI (return on investment) and ROC (return on collisions).”
For Hsieh’s full statement, see https://downtownproject.com/statement/.