Chief Hospitality Officer, MGM Resorts International
Ari Kastrati is Chief Hospitality Officer (CHO) for MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), an S&P 500® global hospitality and entertainment company. As CHO, Ari is responsible for driving non-gaming strategic operations, creating transformative guest-centric strategies and curating innovative experiences that deliver long-term value for the company. Ari leads a diverse team representing divisions that include: resort/hotel, food & beverage, nightlife, retail and guest experience. The company’s art and culture division and internal real estate efforts focused on leasing and development also fall under Ari’s purview.
As a versatile leader with international experience, Ari plays a key role in supporting MGM Resorts’ gaming projects around the world, focused on master planning/design of projects such as
MGM Japan Integrated Resort (IR), where he works closely with the Global Development team, government entities and community officials on the future introduction of integrated resorts.
As MGM Resorts expanded its brand of hospitality and lifestyle experiences internationally over the last few years, Ari served as a strategic advisor to Bellagio Shanghai and MGM Cotai and led the master planning and development of MGM Dubai. Domestically, he was integral in the ideation, design and development of MGM National Harbor in Maryland and MGM Springfield in Massachusetts; the merger and acquisition of Empire City Casino and Borgata Resort and Casino, as well as the reimagining of Monte Carlo into Park MGM and the introduction of the NoMad brand to Las Vegas.
Ari’s 11-year tenure at MGM Resorts has included advancing the organization’s journey to becoming “One Company, One Culture.” Through strategic programming and change management, he led business-optimization initiatives which leveraged MGM’s size and scale to create best practices and efficiencies that maximize operational profitability and margin expansion across the company. Key to this work was driving a culture of continuous improvement, operational expertise and sustainability.
More recently, Ari played a central role in the transformation of the company’s operating structure. Core to that transformation has been the move from a decentralized structure to a centralized one in which strategic decision-making for the enterprise resides within corporate Centers of Excellence (COs) who collaborate with property partners to align to the company’s strategic goals.
Ari’s background includes several executive leadership roles within MGM Resorts. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President of Global Food & Beverage. Among his accomplishments within that role was the strategic reprogramming of the company’s food & beverage landscape to ensure its offerings matched evolving customer demands. As a result, the company introduced multiple collaborations including the highly successful NoMad and Eataly at Park MGM, Carbone at ARIA in partnership with Major Food Group, Catch at ARIA in partnership with Catch Hospitality and, perhaps most notably, the introduction of a homegrown new kind of dining experience with the launch of The Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio.
Before transitioning to his corporate role, Ari was the Vice President of Food & Beverage at ARIA and Monte Carlo (now Park MGM). In these roles, he oversaw the daily operations of multiple high-volume restaurants, bars and lounges, as well as catering, banquets and in-room dining.
Ari’s extensive career has included working in executive roles with the Mina Group, Caesars Palace and Charlie Trotter, three premier hospitality brands. In recognition of his work promoting Japanese food culture and products in the US and beyond, Ari had the honor of being named a Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan in 2019.
Ari spent his childhood in Europe and studied in Albania. He and his family are based in Las Vegas and enjoy traveling the world together whenever possible.