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Wynn Macau announces board reshuffle after Steve Wynn exit

Thursday, 08 February 2018 04:16
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Wynn Resorts (Macau) SA, the Macau subsidiary of Wynn Resorts Ltd, has announced a board reshuffle that will see Wynn Resorts boss Matthew Maddox become CEO and Dr Allan Zeman appointed Non-executive Chairman following the resignation of founder Steve Wynn yesterday.

As part of the newly arranged board, Executive Director and President Ian Coughlan and Chief Operating Officer Linda Chen retain their board positions while President of Wynn Las Vegas, Maurice Wooden, joins as a Non-executive Director.

The news follows Mr Wynn’s sudden resignation as CEO and Chairman of Wynn Resorts on Tuesday afternoon following sexual misconduct accusations published in The Wall Street Journal 12 days ago. Wynn Resorts had subsequently announced an investigation, as did the Nevada Gaming Control Board, while the Massachusetts Gaming Commission revealed it was reviewing the license awarded to Wynn Resorts in 2014 to build the US$2.1 Wynn Boston Harbor.

In a statement, Mr Wynn said, “In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity. As I have reflected upon the environment this has created – one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts – I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”

Wynn added he was resigning from “a company I founded and that I love.”

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) released its own statement on Wednesday in which it claimed to have told Ms Chen in a recent meeting that it would “strictly monitor and enforce” requirements that major shareholders, directors and principal employees of Macau’s gaming concessionaires must meet under existing laws.

DICJ Director Paulo Martins Chan and Secretary for Economy and Finance Leong Vai Tac had met with Ms Chen to gain a better understanding of the situation, it added.

Wynn’s departure has sparked a flurry of speculation locally as to where Wynn Macau goes from here. According to Bloomberg, the fact that legal requirements relate to shareholders as much as they do to directors and key employees could mean that Wynn is still in the sights of regulators.

“If Steve Wynn is considered not suitable, according to the law he should give up his shares,” said Wang Changbin, Director of the Gaming Teaching & Research Center at Macao Polytechnic Institute.

Despite the uncertainty, analysts have expressed confidence in Maddox to push the company forward.

“Our view is that Maddox has a good grasp of Macau operations and frequently visits the operations on the ground there,” said brokerage Sanford C Bernstein. “Further, he has been one of the closest executives to Steve Wynn and will likely try to maintain his vision and attention to hospitality and customer experience. However, the shoes of Steve Wynn will not be easy to fill. Even with Maddox at the helm, Wynn will likely become a somewhat different operation, but time will tell.”

Morgan Stanley added, “We believe it is important to highlight the strong, tenured management team Mr Wynn leaves behind. New CEO, Matt Maddox, was Wynn’s first employee in Macau, its CFO and, for the past four years, President of the company.

“Wynn continues to have operational presidents in both Las Vegas (Maurice Wooden) and Macau (Ian Coughlan), with Linda Chen President of Marketing and John Littell President of Design and Development.”

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