Crown Resorts likely to be hit by protest vote against directors, remuneration

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australia’s top casino operator Crown Resorts adorns a fence surrounding the Crown Perth hotel and casino complex in Western Australia, Oct. 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Bunch/File Photo

(Reuters) – The chairwoman of Crown Resorts CWN.AX apologised to shareholders on Thursday for governance failings that rattled the casino group this month and may lead to a “significant” protest vote against the re-election of some directors.

A government inquiry into whether the Australian firm can keep its casino operating license casinos has, in the last couple of weeks, aired signs of poor risk controls and failings by senior management.

“Let me say clearly that I unreservedly apologise for these failings,” Chairwoman Helen Coonan said at Crown’s annual general meeting.

In response, the company laid out plans to create a new financial crimes department, change reporting lines and end the role of its Australian Resorts chief, Barry Felstead.

One of the major concerns raised stemmed from media reports in mid-2019 that accused Crown of doing business with tour operators who had not been vetted for organised crime links.

Coonan acknowledged a “significant vote against those Directors up for re-election today, as well as the vote against the Remuneration Report.”

Crown on Wednesday ended an agreement to share confidential information with its billionaire founder and largest shareholder, James Packer. The company is also being investigated by Australia’s financial crime agency over suspicion it failed to comply with anti-money-laundering protocols.

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