Meet CEO Jim Allen, Guitar Hero of the Hard Rock

Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming, has shown industry leadership by example, leading the Tribe’s acquisition of Hard Rock International way back in 2007.

The purchase, a landmark in Indian gaming and business, was the first time a Native American Tribe acquired a major existing international company. The Hard Rock empire has grown dramatically on Allen’s watch: from 125 cafes to 185, from nine hotels to 27 and from four casinos to 12.

Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming, has shown industry leadership by example, leading the Tribe's acquisition of Hard Rock International way back in 2007. Click To Tweet

Allen’s experience goes back to his early career in Atlantic City, where as part of the Trump organization he helped bring boxing from Las Vegas to New Jersey. From there, he embarked on ever higher-profile ventures, working under resort magnate Sol Kerzner to develop Mohegan Sun and the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.

His work with the Seminole Tribe has been his baby — “I really wanted to do it 100 percent on my own,” he has said. Hard Rock was a brand, built on t-shirts and memorabilia, that was in need of a fresh vision. “I felt the company had the opportunity to enhance its management, its philosophies and expand in the hotel and gaming sectors. I think that any company is only as good as its management team. Very respectfully, I felt we could do it better.”

Today, the Hard Rock brand is growing all over the world, including in south Florida — Seminole country, headquarters of the Tribe and its now-global empire.

On October 24th, Hard Rock opened a structure with the sort of eye-catching, brand-cementing architecture you’d see in Vegas or Dubai: The new Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, a 35-floor guitar-shaped hotel boasting 468 suites that rises above Hollywood.

RELATED: Guitar Tower Is a Testament to Hard Rock’s Ingenuity and Financial Strength

Allen has been dreaming about a guitar-shaped hotel for over a decade.

“At the time, everyone thought we were a little bit crazy,” he said at a recent press conference. “That’s not the first time we’ve been accused of that.”

Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming, was named a Top 30 CEO in Indian Country by Native Business Magazine. His profile originally appeared in our 2019 Leadership issue.

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