Crown Appoints Carter As Director Amidst Shakeup

Crown Resorts Limited has been making numerous management and organizational changes of late. It has been happening at the same time that Crown submitted its closing statements in the Victoria Royal Commission into Crown and its activities. With that commission expected to render its decision and reveal its findings by 15 October, Crown seems to be preparing for the results.

Early 2021 Management Changes

At the end of January 2021, Crown Resorts announced the appointment of Nigel Morrison as a non-executive director of the Crown Board of Directors. Morrison had spent more than 20 years in the gambling industry of the Asia-Pacific region, most recently as a chief executive at SkyCity Entertainment Group.

“The Board welcomes Nigel’s contribution as we continue to implement our reform program and deliver on our other strategic objectives,” said Crown then-Chairwoman Helen Coonan.

About two weeks later, Crown Directors Guy Jalland and Michael Johnson resigned. Crown Director and Crown Melbourne Chairman Andrew Demetriou followed days later.

At the same time, just three days denying media reports that Ken Barton resigned from Crown, Ken Barton resigned from Crown. He left his position as CEO and Managing Director effective immediately, though he committed to helping with a smooth transition. Coonan stepped up to become the interim Executive Chairperson.

General Council and Company Secretary Mary Manos resigned that day as well. Crown CFO Alan McGregor stepped in as interim Secretary. Part of the reason was that Crown wanted to split the Secretary position into two separate roles.

Still in February, Director Harold Mitchell resigned. And on 1 March, Director John Poynton followed out the door. The latter was seemingly forced by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) due to Poynton’s past relationship with James Packer.

Changes Continued as Seasons Changed

Morrison moved up to Director in April. Bruce Carter then moved into a Non-Executive Director role.

May delivered Crown’s appointment of Steve McCann as the new CEO and Managing Director of Crown, to be effective 1 June. “Steve is a first-class appointment for Crown and the right person to embed the ongoing reforms necessary to restore regulatory and public confidence in our operations,” Coonan commented. “The Board was looking for a CEO firmly committed to building on the momentum for change within our business, and Steve is ideally placed to hit the ground running as our sweeping reform program takes hold.”

On 3 August, Xavier Walsh resigned – effective 20 August – as Crown Melbourne CEO.

More than two weeks later, Crown announced that McCann would become the CEO of Crown Melbourne as well as remain CEO of the entirety of Crown Resorts. As a part of that deal, McCann agreed to relocate from Sydney to Melbourne.

One week after that, Coonan retired from the Board and her interim Executive Chairperson roles. Crown decided to appoint Dr. Ziggy Switkowski to take over in the Chairperson role. “I am confident the Board’s selection of Ziggy as Chairman will reinforce the organization-wide commitment to our reform program,” Coonan said.

Simultaneously, regulatory approvals allowed Carter to officially assume the April-appointed role of Crown Director.

Crown Closing to Victoria, Part One

In an effort to produce some light reading, Crown Resorts, together with Crown Melbourne, submitted a 363-page closing submission to the Victorian Royal Commission on 2 August. The major points, however, can be broken down via the overview that serves as the paper’s introduction.

  • They realize the commission exposed “numerous failings, including contraventions of law, in the operation of the Melbourne casino.” As a result, the public’s confidence and trust fell. “Crown apologises for those failings and is committed to doing everything in its power to redress those failings and earn back confidence and trust.”
  • They agree that an independent monitor or supervisor should oversee Crown’s implementation of reforms and initiatives from the Commission’s ultimate recommendations. That person should have “extensive powers to examine Crown’s operations and affairs.” And Crown will pay for it.
  • “Crown Melbourne is a suitable person to continue to hold the casino license” due to the reforms in place and the ones to take place under independent supervision.
  • If the Commission finds that Crown Melbourne should not keep its license, Crown will accept that decision. But they would then like to know how to become suitable.
  • The company admits that its former structure and culture prioritized profit over ethics, norms, legality, and expectations. Thus, Crown is undergoing “wholesale reform” to correct it all. That includes the aforementioned management and executive changes.
  • They would like the Commission to weigh the past conduct of the company against its current and future conduct per reforms.

The overview continues with a total of 40 main points. In addition to the above points, the document also addressed governance and risk, anti-money laundering measures, other ways to combat criminal influences and conduct at Crown Melbourne, responsible gambling, bonus jackpots, and future dealing with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Crown Closing to Victoria, Part Two

The second part of the closing submission was only four pages. Crown submitted this addition to the original document one week after the first.

The topic of discussion was Crown’s obligation or permission to sub-lease Crown Melbourne. In essence, they assert that, in the event that Victoria repeals the casino’s license, they can sub-lease to a new casino operator with its own gaming license. Crown would remain in control of the non-casino parts of the property, however.

Hurry Up and Wait

After all of the testimony and questions, changes and submission, Crown Resorts must now wait for answers.

The Victorian Royal Commission must report its findings to the Governor on or before 15 October of this year. That wait is rather minimal.

On the other hand, regarding Crown’s gaming license in Western Australia for Crown Perth, that will take much more time. The Perth Casino Royal Commission began its inquiry in March 2021, under the oversight of the Honourable Neville Owen, Lindy Jenkins, and Colin Murphy as Royal Commissioners. They did deliver an interim report to the Governor and Premier on 30 June, and the Western Australian Parliament tabled the report on 3 August. The final report’s deadline is 4 March 2022.

The preliminary report in Perth laid out the testimony but did not submit any findings or recommendations, asking to hold off on those until the final report until next year.

 

 

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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