Crown Resorts has reported that Ken Barton has stepped down with immediate effect from his position as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, with Helen Coonan leading the business on an interim basis.
After a scathing report indicated that the company is not fit to run the $2.2 billion Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, Barton, whose exit was denied last week following media reports, is the latest to leave the group under extreme scrutiny and pressure.
Crown’s almost 800-page criticism of suitability follows claims posed by Australia’s Nine Network, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and other media outlets that Crown, or its agents, associates or subsidiaries, engaged in money laundering; violated gambling laws; and partnered with junket operators with ties to drug dealers, money launderers, human traffickers, and organised crime.
Dedication and commitment
Coonan will lead the business as executive chairman after Barton’s exit, while the board oversees a search for a new CEO.
“I would like to thank Ken for his dedication and commitment to Crown,” she said. “Ken joined Crown more than a decade ago and has played an invaluable role with the business, initially as CFO and in the past year as CEO. Ken has always put the interests of Crown first.
“Assuming the role of executive chairman is a decision I have not taken lightly but the board feels it provides leadership stability and certainty at this important time for the business.
“The board is determined to maintain the momentum as Crown takes significant steps to improve our governance, compliance and culture. Working closely with the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and regulators in Victoria and Western Australia, I will continue to lead on implementation of Crown’s ambitious reform program.”
Andrew Demetriou resigned last week as Crown Director and as Crown Melbourne Limited Chairman, joining Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston, who quit similar roles earlier in the week.
In order to ensure a smooth handover, Barton, who will continue to assist Coonan in the coming weeks, said: “I would like to thank the Crown directors for the opportunity to work with them on implementing Crown’s strategy.
“Over the past 10 years, Crown has established itself as a great Australian company with world-class assets and I am absolutely certain the business is now on the right path as it works to restore confidence in its operations. I am committed to assisting with the transition to new leadership.”