Crown Resorts shareholders have expressed their displeasure at generous payouts granted to recently departed senior executives during an eventful Annual General Meeting on Thursday. However, they also appeared to throw their full support behind a new-look Board of Directors, voting against a spill motion after a second strike was recorded.
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, just one of the 11 directors who sat on the Crown Resorts board ahead of the company’s 2020 AGM remains today although many of those forced to step aside in the wake of recent regulatory inquiries did so with a hefty farewell gift, including former CEO and director Ken Barton whose severance totaled AU$6.8 million.
With those numbers in mind, almost 31% of shareholders voted against Crown’s remuneration report on Thursday, exceeding the 25% threshold for the second year running and therefore tiggering a spill resolution against the new board. But only 4.1% of shareholders ultimately voted in favor of the spill, suggesting strong support for the new leadership team which includes former Lendlease boss Steve McCann as CEO and Managing Director, Nigel Morrison and Bruce Carter as directors and Dr Ziggy Switkowski as chair.
Morrison, Carter and Switkowski also received more than 99.7% support each for their appointment as new directors.
In a statement issued shortly after the AGM, Crown said it “thanks shareholders for their strong endorsement and support of the new Crown directors who were elected” and that it remains “committed to implementing the substantial reform program that is substantially underway. Together we aim to restore confidence in Crown as the leading operator of integrated resorts in Australia.”
Crown added, “The Board acknowledges and appreciates the concerns expressed by shareholders in relation to the 2021 Remuneration Report and will continue to listen to shareholders about Crown’s remuneration practices. Further, Crown continues to develop and improve its remuneration framework on a ‘go forward’ basis to ensure that it remains aligned with market practice and community, regulatory and shareholder expectations.”
The findings of a Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne’s suitability to retain its casino license are due to be made public before the end of this month.