LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- Pinnacle Entertainment ( PNK) named former Multimedia Games ( MGAM) executive Anthony M. Sanfilippo as CEO and president on Monday.

Sanfilippo will take over for John Giovenco, who served as interim CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment -- a casino operator -- since November 2009. Giovenco will stay on as a member of the board.
Anthony M. Sanfilippo
Pinnacle Entertainment named former Multimedia Games executive Anthony M. Sanfilippo as CEO and president

Previously, Sanfilippo served as president, CEO and board member of Multimedia Games and before that had several executive roles at Harrah's Entertainment.

"We like Mr. Sanfilippo's regional market experience at Harrah's and we think Pinnacle's board's decision to hire a person with operating experience makes tremendous sense," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note.

Sanfilippo is also purchasing about $1 million shares of Pinnacle's common stock, which means he has a significant amount of stake in the future of the company, Greff wrote. He was also awarded options to purchase 650,000 shares of Pinnacle at $8.64 a share. The options vest over five years and have a 10-year term.

The news comes as Multimedia Games, which develops electronic gambling devices used in casinos and bingo parlors, also announced on Monday that it is exploring strategic options, including the potential sale of the company.

After the resignation of Sanfilippo, Multimedia Games named Chief Operating Officer Patrick Ramsey as its interim CEO.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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