Crown Resort Chairman Helen Coonan has promised that changes will be made to the company’s Board of Directors after shareholders made their dissatisfaction clear during its Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
On a day that saw two directors stand down, including former Executive Chairman John Alexander, another three saw significant votes cast against their re-election – their positions only saved thanks to the support of James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) and its 36% voting power.
Packer abstained, however, from voting on Crown’s Remuneration Report for the year ended 30 June 2020 which attracted a “first strike” after more than 34% of votes went against it, paving the way for a potential board spill pending a similar result in 12 months’ time.
Guy Jalland, who is also a director of CPH, John Horvath and Jane Halton all saw votes of between 24.8% and 41.2% against them with Horvath announcing afterwards that he would join Alexander in retiring form the board based on the clear message shareholders had sent.
In a Chairman’s address published ahead of the AGM, Coonan said that, “based on the proxy positions received before the meeting, I would like to acknowledge the significant vote against those directors up for re-election today, as well as the vote against the remuneration report.
“Based on conversations with investors in the lead up to today, I understand the vote on these resolutions reflects dissatisfaction with the performance of the board and the Company, particularly in the context of evidence coming out of the ILGA Inquiry.
“Shareholders have given a clear and powerful message that board renewal is required, and the board accepts this feedback. Changes will be made.”
Crown also outlined a raft of governance changes it is either planning or already in the process of making as a result of the inquiry, including an overhaul of anti-money laundering procedures following revelations the company was unaware of large cash movements in junket rooms within its own casinos.