Robert Goldstein had just been offered a good job to run a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, when Sheldon Adelson called to pitch him on a new opportunity.
Over Chinese food, the younger executive listened to Adelson’s vision for a Las Vegas resort focused on convention goers and business travel. “Sheldon never questioned himself — he never blinked,” Goldstein recalls. “When I hesitated, he said: ‘You can’t not do this. You can’t not join me.’”
Goldstein went on to help run the billionaire’s casino empire, but few entrepreneurs held as tight a grip on their business as Adelson. The feisty founder of casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. retained the titles of chairman and chief executive officer up until Jan 7, when the company announced that he was on medical leave to focus on his treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Four days later, Adelson succumbed to the disease at age 87.