CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
SkyCity Entertainment Group
POWER SCORE: 671
POSITION LAST YEAR: 35
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Former executive at The Star Sydney and slot giant Aristocrat
- Has driven the company’s digital gaming arm
LIKE MOST GAMING OPERATORS around the Asia-Pacific region, SkyCity Entertainment’s New Zealand and Australian casinos are in the midst of a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the very least, CEO Michael Ahearne will be confident that the company will quickly overturn the US$21 million loss booked in the financial year ended 30 June 2022, having already claimed EBITDA was back to pre-COVID levels in the final months of the reporting period.
But challenges remain. The regulatory revolution that has decimated the executive teams of Australian operators Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group is now turning its attention to SkyCity, with the South Australian government in July announcing an independent review into its suitability to hold a casino license for SkyCity Adelaide. Australia’s AML watchdog AUSTRAC also mentioned Adelaide’s casino as part of broader investigations announced in mid-2021, although its focus seems to have been primarily drawn to Crown and Star.
For now, however, Ahearne will be more focused on righting the ship at SkyCity’s flagship Auckland IR following the recent reopening of international borders, while the company’s online gaming business continues to bubble away enticingly with revenues up 29% in the past 12 months on the back of around 10,000 monthly users. No doubt Ahearne’s time spent with UK giant Paddy Power Betfair prior to his arrival in Auckland will serve the company’s digital aspirations well.
For the full list of 2022 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.