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N.M. Lottery Director Resigns; Could Become N.C. Lottery Chief

Nov 15, 2005, 10:47 pm

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New Mexico Lottery

The New Mexico Lottery Authority Board of Directors announced Tuesday that CEO Tom Shaheen has submitted his resignation.

Shaheen, who has been with the Lottery since March 2000, has guided the Lottery to record sales and record returns for education.

"Tom will be greatly missed but we certainly understand his desire to move on," said Lottery Authority board chair Reta D. Jones. "He has been a tremendous asset to not just the Lottery but New Mexico education."

Combining strategic marketing with effective cost cutting measures, sales grew nearly every year under Shaheen's leadership, reaching a record high of $148 million in fiscal year 2004.

Lottery profits have exceeded $30 million for three consecutive years with a high of $35.9 million in FY 2004. Prior to his arrival, returns to education hovered in the low $20 million range.

Shaheen has also lowered the lottery's administrative costs.

The board has called a special meeting for Friday afternoon, November 18, at which time Jones anticipates that Tom Romero, Executive Vice President of Security, will be named Interim CEO. Romero has been with the lottery since its pre-inaugural start-up in 1996. A veteran of state and local law enforcement, Romero has served as the lottery's day-to-day operational "number two" for all three of the Lottery's CEOs.

"We have all the confidence in the world in Tom Romero's ability to lead the lottery during the interim," Jones added.
Following this week's board meeting, Jones anticipates that a national search will be launched for Shaheen's replacement.
Lottery sales for Fiscal Year 2006, which began July 1, are already about $6.4 million, or nearly 13 percent, higher than the same period last year. Cumulative lottery sales have totaled about $1.13 billion, with the overwhelming amount during Shaheen's tenure.

Since inception, the New Mexico Lottery has already raised nearly $256 million for public education in the state, including more than $189 for the Lottery Success Scholarship program. More than 35,000 students have received in-state tuition for college from this merit-based scholarship program. An updated student count is expected shortly.

Shaheen is one of the leading candidates for the role of N.C. Lottery Director, which is expected to be announced by Thursday.

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