Aristocrat Chairman Neil Chatfield has credited an increased focus on strong corporate governance and strategic recruitment for the company’s impressive performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the global slot machine giant recorded net profit after tax for the year ended 30 September 2020 of AU$476.6 million (US$348 million), down 46% year-on-year but leaving it in a strong position with liquidity in excess of AU$2 billion.
Addressing Aristocrat’s shareholders at its Annual General Meeting in Sydney on Friday morning, Chatfield outlined key measures the company has taken to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while strengthening its standing in the global gaming industry.
“Strong competition for top talent, particularly in the US technology sector and across Digital skillsets, only intensified as a result of the pandemic,” Chatfield said. “Aristocrat was quick to respond, escalating our focus on strategic recruitment and retention, and updating remuneration structures as detailed in the Remuneration Report.
“This intensifying war for talent is a real risk that the company faces … the Board is committed to taking proactive steps to ensure Aristocrat can continue to attract and retain the critical capabilities required to execute our strategy and advance shareholders’ interests, recognizing that we are a globally operating technology business and increasingly a market leader.”
Chatfield made particular note of four key areas the company has been looking to improve, namely the promotion of responsible gameplay, strengthening of its diversity and inclusiveness agenda, addressing climate change initiatives and helping to combat modern slavery.
“I’m pleased to say, we’re continuing to make real strides towards leadership in this important area, he said.
“We were delighted to be recognized during the year as a top performer in the Chief Executive Women ASX200 Senior Executive Census, in recognition of both our Group Executive team and Board being over 40% female.
“Promoting responsible gameplay is one of Aristocrat’s most fundamental obligations. It’s a major way that we deliver our company mission to Bring Joy to Life through the Power of Play. We believe it’s also key to ensuring we can continue to grow our business, attract and retain great talent, and promote a sustainable games industry that’s welcome in the community.
“In 2020 Aristocrat developed a response to the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, and a timetable to progressively expand disclosures over three years to 2022. We began in 2020 with a range of disclosures spanning governance, strategy and risk management, and also committed to determining and disclosing our emissions profile and actions across scopes 1, 2 and as appropriate, scope 3.
“This work is well underway, and we will deliver on all of the commitments we have made for 2021. We are also investing more resources to accelerate the assessment of abatement options across our global organisation, and better understand our potential pathway to ‘net zero’ emissions. We look forward to sharing more details as we make progress in this work.
“In terms of modern slavery, we’ve made further strides forward in terms of diversifying our supply chain, encouraging continuous improvement among suppliers, better assessing and addressing risks and rolling out training across key functions. The business will also publish its first statement as required by the Australian Modern Slavery Act next month. The statement identifies a range of metrics the business will use to monitor and assess the effectiveness of our compliance program going forward, with appropriate Board oversight.
“We will keep expanding our disclosures over time, in line with stakeholder interests and to ensure we can continue to effectively manage risks, capture opportunities and execute our strategy.”