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IGT Employee: ‘I Feel Like a Battered Wife Who Can’t Leave My Husband’

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IGT Employee:  ‘I Feel Like a Battered Wife Who Can’t Leave My Husband’

CEO forces staff to drink liquid concentrate forms of coffee while she insists on having her's freshly ground.  Does not talk to employees face-to-face.

As if the situation weren’t complicated enough with a proxy battle underway at IGT, the world’s largest slots manufacturer employees have begun reaching out to Gambling911.com offering their own personal horror stories as to what it is like working for the beleaguered gaming firm.

“My relationship with IGT as an employee is similar to how a battered wife sees her marriage to an abusive husband,” writes Bill, whose real identity we will keep anonymous.  “I can boil it down to, ‘I want to leave, but I have no place else to go’.”

Bill notes that he must abide to a highly restrictive non-compete clause as part of his employment contract. 

“I can’t simply go to another gaming company.  The harsh truth is that only other gaming companies hire people that do what I do.  I’d love to leave, but I can’t.”

Investor Jason Ader is attempting to wrestle away control of the firm from current CEO Patti Hart.  He has asserted that Ms. Hart continues to mismanage the company and some employees, like Bill, appear to be backing up this notion. 

“This non-compete (contract) hasn't stopped my braver co-workers, who have no dependents, from quitting without having a job lined up,” Bill said.  “In fact they said that they would rather be unemployed than face the stupidity of their current management.

“As if that wasn't bad enough, I have spent the last few years dealing with a CEO who has no regard for her employees, and treats them with a sense of deep and savage contempt and a false sense of compassion.”

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“I recently read a magazine article in which my CEO, Patti Hart, was featured. The female journalist gushed about the wonderful IGT coffee maker around which Ms. Hart hangs. As a member of the non-executive team, I can’t recall seeing such a coffee maker in the break rooms or cafeteria. My break room’s coffee comes in liquid concentrate in frozen cartons. Patti's coffee is freshly ground.

“The coffee maker is a symbol of what is all wrong at IGT. It just shows how far removed Patti Hart is from daily life at IGT. Patti Hart once told her employees in a recorded video, ‘It is too expensive and difficult to reclaim market share.’ She also once remarked in an internal online Q & A , ‘Executives need business class travel, because when they arrive at a destination, they are expected to hit the ground running and be immediately productive’.

“I can't help but wonder if Patti Hart is good for IGT shareholders? I think not. Patti sends the employees tons of emails about the current IGT proxy fight. She tells us she wants transparency and for us to understand what is going on.”

Hart and IGT Management have blocked access to all of Ader’s websites, Gambling911.com reported last week.

“This is the CEO who blocked RescueIGT.com within the IGT corporate network, not just by employees but also visiting guests on the corporate WiFi,” Bill tells us.

“This is the same CEO who dictated that the public tracking of N-1GT, the corporate jet, be ceased once it was discovered that it made trips to Aspen and the Caribbean during vacation periods.

“This is the same CEO who removed the question and answer forum so that employees could no longer ask executives questions regarding issues that affect employees and IGT business.

“This is the same CEO who speaks to her employees via videos and emails, but never in person.

“Sigh, our company is supposed to be a gaming company. If that is so, why is it none of our senior executives come from casinos or have any industry experience? What can the former CEO of Taco Bell, Greg Creed, tell me about slot machines? What can the former Chief Sales Officer of Sprint Nextel, Paget L. Alves, tell me about player tracking? Can any of our board of directors:

·      Compute house advantage?

·      Read the math tables for a slot machine?

·      Determine if a slot game is fun for a player?

·      Explain optimal strategy in video poker?

“Unless they were mentored or raised in my industry, they wouldn’t begin to know how to answer those questions. In fact I would ask any business journalist to ask our senior executive staff or members of the board of directors these same questions.

“Inside the halls of IGT we regard Patti Hart as a fairy tale style villain. Depending upon who you ask she is the fire breathing dragon that inhabits the castle tower. Some of us employees regard her as the insane sledge hammer wielding Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s “Misery” as portrayed by Kathy Bates. Instead of hobbling our legs, she hobbles our stock price and reduces our benefits.

“Multiple times a month, I get an email from our IGT leadership reminding me about the IGT Code of Conduct. Funny... I can't see how any of the shennigans by our CEO in this proxy fight would be considered good conduct.”

The employee made reference to a recent email sent out by Hart and her cronies, lambasting IGT’s former Chairperson, Charles Mathewson. 

“The manner in which she has gone after Mr. Mathewson, the grandfather of slot machines, is despicable. Mathewson is the wise fatherly figure of this industry. At best Patti is a newbie. She has yet to earn her spurs.

“Who will she go after next? A member of the Gaughan family (who run South Point Casino in Las Vegas)? Or perhaps she would like to teach the Fertitta family how to run a property? I think her knowledge would be barely be worth a minimum table bet at Terrible’s Casino.  I’ll take those odds at the sports book!”

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

Comments

IGT's downward spiral of value and employee recognition/appreciation is appalling. I was hopeful that Mrs. Hart would be replaced during GTECHS acquisition of IGT but she has been announced as the Vice Chairman. It time for employees to secure their future at IGT! If you are a IGT employee please contact me at 702-994-2413
Short version of this story: Company give out phone book, later fires people for using phone book. This company decided they were going to lay off about seven percent of their workforce. The rumors of this layoff were circulating in January with the act to occur sometime in February. The layoffs were postponed in February due to a couple of orders that came in. So now there is the morale problem from the previous month and it is getting worse due to impending doom. The layoffs were supposed to now hit near the end of the fiscal quarter and rumors have them at 300-700 out of a 4000 employee sized company. This company is very top heavy. It has 42 vice presidents and executive officers and eight board members. Who knows how many directors and managers. So the big day comes on March 25th. Layoffs are occurring and people are getting walked out. A few employees started keeping track of who they knew that had been let go. The names are getting passed around through water cooler chats and the work instant messing. Sometime during the day someone notices that the instant messaging system is showing “Presence Unknown” for people that are gone. It usually shows something like Active, Away, Meeting, Out of Office. Since the IM tool is connected to the company directory, it is possible to look up a persons manager or group. This makes it easier to click on the “show group” function and see a list of names. Now just a quick aside. The tool is public inside the company. Anyone that works there and has access to a computer has access to the directory. This ties email, calendar, messaging and more together. For those a little more intimate with Microsoft products Active Directory is the service tying together email, calendar, text messaging, shared whiteboard functionality and some other tools. So, with the office rumors and looking up the status of people via the directory it was possible to create a list of people that had quit or were let go during March. This information was fairly popular, so of course it was shared around inside the company. The business reason was determining if people involved in your projects or work flow are gone, since this helps to avoid delays. The other reason was curiosity, whether friends or acquaintances had survived the layoffs. Now a week later is when it gets strange. HR started pulling people aside. Some were told to bring their computers. Everyone was hauled individually to a conference room, told that their emails and text messages were available for reference, and to state what was known about “the list”. They were also told that they should make a voluntary statement to help their case and name names. Most were suspended and told they would be told the outcome of the investigation. So we have an “investigation” into viewing or sharing a list of names generated by a public tool to find who might have been part of the layoffs the company just performed. Then it gets worse. People are being fired for having seen the list, or having a copy and discussing it with co-workers. No specific reasons are stated, but it is called a code of conduct violation. There are no warnings given, verbal or written. This is outright firing people for using a directory that was used daily by most employees. This wasn't some secret hidden confidential information, it was the company directory available to anyone with access to a work computer. After the firings, some rumors come out: the CEO wanted 10% cuts but was only given 7% so the 40 or so fired made up the difference; people that had the list and mailed it out of the company were not fired, just told never to speak about it; the code of conduct was updated after the firings, but back dated to just after the layoffs; the company fired most of their lawyers and hired on new ones that were looking to prove themselves; the company was being aggressive about telling their side of the story to unemployment investigators so that the fired people would have a much more difficult time gaining their unemployment benefits; the company started recording all phone calls in addition to retaining all email and text messages; the company was given written warnings for any discussion of layoff or firings. These were going into the employees personnel file with HR.
I would like to know more and may be able to help. 702-994-2413
This post is an interesting assessment of Hart as a CEO. I think the article that referred to Hart as a "carpet bagging CEO" is very accurate. She has moved from one company to another, sucking the life out of each the companies, runs them out of business and then moves on to the next company to bleed it dry. Hart is by far the worst CEO I have ever worked for. There must a school that carpet bagging CEOs attend to learn empty marketing platitudes like "Purpose and Promise" or "with Enthusiasm". Given the fact that Hart doesn't have slightest understanding casino gaming or hi-tech industries of any kind, it's a miracle that she was ever allowed to pick herself as CEO of IGT. How was that allowed to happen? Still, there is a bigger issue that the post from Bill brings up that would have taken care of Hart's reign as CEO of IGT. Bill is correct that there is no other place to go if you want to quit IGT. This is due to the much larger problem of Nevada's economy is almost exclusively based on casino gaming and that is how Nevada's politicians want Nevada’s economy to remain. Casino gaming fills a lot of Nevada’s politicians campaign coffers with lots of money. If Nevada had a strong hi-tech industrial base like California or Texas, engineers would have just quit IGT en masse under Hart's reign. IGT's resulting quarterly numbers would have forced the board to fire her or the company would have gone out of business or been sold. That is the normal progression for companies with carpet bagging CEOs. Ask the ex-employees from Telocity, Excite@Home or Pinnacle. They can tell you all about it. Nevada's politicians pay lip service to helping hi-tech start-ups. Unless you're politically connected, you can forget about any help for entrepreneurs in Nevada, regardless of what the Governor says. You can't even get the Governor's, Nevada Senators' or congressmen offices to return a phone call or email. Come election time, they are more than willing to endlessly harass you for campaign contributions. The Governor points to the Desert Research Institute as a way to promote the hi-tech knowledge base in Nevada, but what successful companies in Nevada have resulted from DRI’s support? UNLV, UNR and DRI are full of PhDs that don't have an ounce of business sense or expertise. What those PhDs are experts at, is getting more government grants to keep their own jobs going. Apple is building a server farm in Reno and many IGT engineers are hoping to quit IGT and move to Apple when the server farm is operational, but server farms are not large employers of people. Server farms, by their very nature, are heavily automated. Where are the companies in Nevada developing servers and server technology for the exploding server farm industry? You don't even need the fingers on one hand to count the number of companies in Nevada developing servers. The world’s computer industry is exploding with new tablets and smart phones. Where are the companies in Nevada that are developing tablet and smartphone technology? Nevada is the first state where Google has been approved for robotic autonomous cars. Manufacturing is returning the U.S. from China through robotics. Even China is switching from manual labor to robotics for manufacturing. The U.S. Air Force at Nellis AFB, outside of Las Vegas, pilots robotic planes and drones half a world away. Where are the companies in Nevada developing robotic technology? You don't even need the fingers on one hand to count the number of robotic companies in Nevada. IGT used to be a very large manufacturer of slot machines, but Hart sent those jobs and manufacturing to China and laid off many hundreds of US employees. As Hart herself gleefully wrote to IGT's US employees in her blog post, "the workers in China are so young and smart", right before she started handing out pink slips en masse to U.S. employees. Where is the manufacturing base in Nevada now? This list of missed economic opportunities for Nevada could go on forever. Yes, Hart is a terrible CEO, but Nevada has an even bigger problem; the Nevada economic base. Don't expect any help on this from Nevada's politicians.
I am sorry but this article is ridiculous. Comparing something as serious as a battered women to lack of gourmet coffee is just down right insulting. I will admit yes things aren't the greatest in IGT's world, but get a grip it's no where near anything of that nature. Not that I'm sticking up for Patti on this one or ever would, but tell me one corporation on the planet that serves it's employees the same perks it serves it's executives.
It's not just comparing a battered woman to a lack of gourmet coffee. Read the whole article and you might learn something. Try working for a company for 10 years or longer and then get laid off so the CEO and those on the Board of Directors can keep their 6 or 7 figure salaries. Patti Hart says the employees are important but she would rather layoff those who are actually doing the work that keeps the company in business so she can keep her lifestyle intact. Like I stated in the comments below this one; Patti Hart has never been to the Buffalo campus in Las Vegas to meet the employees which tells me that she doesn't care. She's flying all over the world on the company jet and could care less about her employees. Don't comment on something when you have no clue as to what's going on.
I have to assume that you don't work for IGT. I've worked for IGT for 12 years and I've seen it go from a company that cared about it's employees and made responsible financial decisions to a company that keeps hiring Presidents, CFO's, and other positions that are most likely drawing a salary in the high six figures. Patty Hart has never been to the Buffalo campus in Las Vegas to meet the employees which says a lot about her as person. She says she cares about the employees yet the only communication we get is through email and it's mostly about a new executive hire. As far as spending money goes, we used to have a Christmas party every year plus cash sharing twice a year. The Christmas party is gone and cash sharing is now only once a year. Granted we aren't entitled to cash sharing at all, but the former CEO went through the same recession times as IGT is currently going and he made better financial decisions. IGT need to get rid of Patty Hart.
I would like to know more about some of the actions of IGT Management. I can be reached at 702-994-2413
Very much unsettled by how Patti Hart treats her employees, but more so, the business. How does she get away with this behavior?
From sources wihin IGT, this has gone viral! Well done gambling911.com ... Jagajeet Chiba