The CEO of Cherokee Nations Entertainment has been placed on administrative leave following a special meeting of the Cherokee Nation Businesses board today in Catoosa.
David Stewart, who became CNE's CEO in 2002, has led the division to unprecedented revenues, overseeing the tribe's partnership with Hard Rock Casino. His responsibilities included oversight of the tribe's gaming, retail, hospitality and entertainment enterprises.
The CNB board voted to place Stewart on administrative leave for the next six weeks. It gave no details as for its decision.
The Cherokee Phoenix reported “after the meeting, CNB Chairman Harold Ray Hart said the board placed Stewart on administrative leave to allow lawyers to come to an agreement, but did not specify what that agreement entailed.”
CNB Executive Vice President Shawn Slaton will be the interim CEO.
“This leave is mutually agreeable to Mr. Stewart and the board. In the interim, Executive Vice President Shawn Slaton will assume the duties of CEO. Slaton has been with the company for more than a decade, overseeing CNB’s major expansions in both the gaming and non-gaming sectors, and has often been placed at the helm when Mr. Stewart’s business and personal travel have taken him out of state,” according to a release by the CNB.
“The company is in very capable hands with Shawn,” said Sam Hart, chairman of the CNB board of directors. “CNB has established the Cherokee Nation as a strong economic engine in the region, and we look forward to continuing that legacy.”
In 2008 Stewart assumed leadership of the CNB when then CEO Brad Carson stepped down.
All of the tribe's business entities, including Cherokee Nation Industries and CNE operate under CNB.