Australia’s Star Entertainment Group Limited has named former Tatts Group boss Robert Cooke as the company’s new Managing Director and CEO.
Cooke replaces Matt Bekier in the role, his predecessor having stepped down amid the recent regular review into Star’s operations which uncovered a series of failings around anti-money laundering controls at The Star Sydney. Chairman John O’Neill also departed last month.
“A comprehensive search conducted by global executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart identified a number of quality candidates,” said Interim Chairman Ben Heap.
“Following a thorough process, the Board concluded that Robbie was the standout candidate with the ideal combination of experience, capabilities and attributes to lead The Star.
“Robbie is a trusted, respected and highly experienced chief executive. He has been the CEO of major ASX 200 listed companies and brings extensive commercial experience in operating and driving transformation programs within highly regulated environments, overseeing large workforces and building executive teams in multi-jurisdictional locations.
“As CEO of the lotteries, wagering and gaming operation at Tatts Group, he led a comprehensive transformation program and secured valuable licence agreements with various State governments. In his role at Wotif.com, Robbie helped build a market leading business across the hotel sector during a period of significant industry disruption. Most recently at the Australian bank and payment fintech, Tyro Payments, he led the company through the post Financial Services Industry Royal Commission environment with a focus on risk culture, cultural alignment and employee engagement whilst driving strong transaction growth from ~$13 billion [AUD] to in excess of $30 billion [AUD] over 4 years.
“Given The Star’s significant investments to develop world-class tourism and entertainment destinations in South East Queensland and Sydney, the Company will benefit significantly from both his understanding of the industry’s regulatory environment and extensive insights and experience across the hotel and broader hospitality sector.
“Robbie is well placed to lead The Star and restore confidence in the organisation. He is an outstanding choice to guide the Company through its critical ongoing renewal program, a body of work already underway that will deliver a number of near and medium-term initiatives focused on governance, culture, training, systems and technology.”
Cooke, whose appointment and commencement date will be confirmed upon gaining regulatory approval, said he was committed to helping Star rebuild its reputation.
“There are challenges for The Star that have been well documented,” he said. “They will be my priority and focus. Ensuring continuity of the business through a comprehensive renewal program is of paramount importance.”