Crown Resorts has confirmed the addition of former SkyCity Entertainment Group CEO Nigel Morrison to its Board of Directors – the first new appointment since the damning Bergin Report was handed down in February.
According to a Tuesday announcement, Morrison – whose appointment was first revealed in January – has now received all necessary regulatory approvals and will join the Crown board as a non-executive director effective immediately.
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 NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) that Crown was unsuitable to hold a state casino license. Guy Jalland, Michael Johnston, Andrew Demetriou, Harold Mitchell and John Poynton, plus CEO Ken Barton and General Counsel Mary Manos, have all stepped down since the Bergin Report was made public.
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 CEO of New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group from 2008 to 2016, he also served as Group Chief Financial Officer of Galaxy Entertainment Group in Macau, CEO of the Federal Group which owns and operates Tasmania’s Wrest Point casino, and previously as Chief Operating Officer of Crown Melbourne Limited.
ILGA Chair Philip Crawford told Inside Asian Gaming in a recent interview that 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 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 numerate 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.”