John Poynton has become the fifth Crown Resorts director to step down in less than a month as the company’s boardroom makeover continues in the wake of the recent Bergin Report.
Crown announced Monday morning that Poynton, who had previously resisted calls to step aside, had agreed to make way following pressure from the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA). The Authority had questioned Poynton’s independence from majority shareholder James Packer given his former role as a consultant to Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings.
“The ILGA has advised Crown that it considers it appropriate that John step down as a director of all companies within the Crown group, due to a perceived lack of independence arising out of his past relationship with Mr James Packer and CPH, notwithstanding the recent termination of John’s consultancy arrangement with CPH,” said Executive Chairman Helen Coonan.
“As a result, 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.”
Poynton, who steps aside both as director of Crown Resorts and as Chairman and director of Burswood Limited (Crown Perth), becomes the fifth director to depart since the release of the Bergin Report, following the lead of Guy Jalland, Michael Johnston, Andrew Demetriou and Harold Mitchell.
CEO Ken Barton and General Counsel and Company Secretary Mary Manos have also departed.
Poynton’s resignation leaves just four board members remaining at Crown – Coonan, John Horvath, Jane Halton and Antonia Korsanos.
Crown recently announced the appointment of former SkyCity Entertainment Group CEO Nigel Morrison as a new Non-Executive Director although he is still awaiting regulatory approval.
Chief Financial Officer Alan McGregor is currently serving as interim Company Secretary while Helen Coonan has assumed greater responsibility as interim Executive Chairman while the search for a new CEO is underway.