Executive exodus gathers pace at Star Casino

The Star Entertainment Group has announced the resignations of three of its most senior executives as the casino operator prepares for an imminent makeover of its board.

In a statement to the ASX late this evening, The Star said it has accepted the resignations of its chief financial officer Harry Theodore, chief casino officer NSW Greg Hawkins, and its chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin.

“The three executives will work with the Executive Chairman to transition their executive responsibilities in an orderly manner. An executive search firm will begin the search for permanent appointments,” the company said.

Matt Bekier appears before the casino inquiry in NSW on Tuesday.

The Star also said further announcements will be made in relation to board renewal and in connection with permanent executive appointments “once finalised”.

The company did not give any reason for the wave of resignations which follows damning revelations at the inquiry into The Star’s suitability to hold its Sydney casino licence, which triggered the resignation of its former CEO Matt Bekier.

He appeared before the inquiry this week and appeared to dump responsibility for the casino’s wrongdoing on management beneath him.

In a damning assessment of his own executive team, Bekier told the inquiry that the casino repeatedly failed to manage risk and regulation, describing it as a “secretive and not transparent” company that followed the “letter of the law and not the spirit of the law”.

The inquiry has revealed how the group had misused Chinese debit cards to enable $900 million in prohibited gambling transactions. Meanwhile, there was clear evidence industrial-scale money laundering was happening place in the private gaming room of its notorious “junket” partner Suncity room.

This week, the inquiry also heard that a senior figure in The Star Entertainment Group’s international high-roller division was accused of stealing $13.3 million of gambling money before he then disappeared in one of a series of events indicating the company had lost control of the riskiest part of its business.

The inquiry has mirrored inquiries similar into Crown resorts. By the time a NSW public inquiry and Victoria’s royal commission finished examining Crown’s failures, its senior executives and entire board had stepped down.

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