- »Nigel Morrison Appointed to Crown Resorts Board
Nigel Morrison Appointed to Crown Resorts Board
Inside Asian Gaming reports that Mr Morrison’s appointment is the first since the damning Bergin Report was handed down last February.
According to an announcement, Mr Morrison has received all of the necessary regulatory approvals to join Crown’s board as a non-executive director, effective immediately, after the appointment was first revealed last January.
More appointments are expected in the coming months, following the departure of five former Crown directors, in response to recommendations contained within the Bergin report and a finding by the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority that Crown was unsuitable to hold a state casino licence.
Guy Jalland, Michael Johnston, Andrew Demetriou, Harold Mitchell and John Poynton, plus chief executive officer Ken Barton and General Counsel Mary Manos have all stepped down since the report was made public.
Mr Morrison is seen as a key appointment to the Crown board, which has been accused in the past of lacking any real casino operations experience.
Best known as chief executive of SkyCity from 2008 to 2016, he also served as Group Chief Financial Officer of Galaxy Entertainment Group in Macau, chief executive of the Federal Group, which owns and operates Tasmania’s Wrest Point casino and previously as a chief operating officer at Crown Melbourne.
Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chair Philip Crawford said he considered it vital for Crown to add more gaming experience to its board of directors.
“It’s really at two levels. One is operating casinos and then the other is simply as a listed company with obligations under the Corporations Act,” he said.
“They got most of that wrong so fixing those things up to our satisfaction is very important.
“I would hope to see people with some degree of experience in casinos, plus numerous people with board experience, a good understanding of the Corporations Act and their obligations as directors.
“I think they need well-rounded people with specific experience around the concerns that we have and in running businesses that are casinos.”
Crown director John Poynton steps down
Another key director at Crown Resorts has stepped down, with WA-based John Poynton resigning.
ABC News reported in March that Mr Poynton has resigned from the board and as a chairman of the company’s Burswood casino in Perth with immediate effect.
In a statement, Crown chair Helen Coonan said the decision was “appropriate” after concerns by the New South Wales gaming regulator about Mr Poynton’s perceived lack of independence from a past relationship with majority shareholder James Packer.
“John has agreed to resign in the best interests of Crown and our shareholders, despite no adverse findings by the Commissioner in the ILGA inquiry in relation to his suitability, integrity or performance,” Ms Coonan said.
“On behalf of the board, I thank John for his contribution to Crown over many years.”
Mr Poynton is the fifth Crown director to resign from the company’s board in the wake of the release of the Bergin report last month.
The NSW inquiry found Crown Resorts was unsuitable to hold a casino licence due to poor governance.
The report made 19 recommendations, including proposing several legislative changes aimed specifically at addressing money laundering activities uncovered at Crown Casino Perth and the company’s Melbourne operation.
WA’s gaming regulatory recently recommended the McGowan government establish an independent inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold the state’s only casino licence.
Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said he would move quickly to establish the inquiry, which would be given four months to investigate,
Mr Poynton said he decided to resign in the best interests of Crown and its shareholders, despite the Bergin inquiry making no findings against his integrity or performance on the Crown board.
“Given the advice from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority about perceptions about my independence arising out of my past relationship with James Packer and CPH, I believe resigning is the right thing to do,” he said.
He also said the inquiry noted his commitment and contribution would be integral to Crown’s future success.
Mr Poynton has wished Crown all the best at this challenging time.