Wynn resigns as Wynn Resorts chairman
Las Vegas – 7 February 2018 –
Casino mogul Steve Wynn has resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations, Associated Press reported.
The Las Vegas-based company in a statement said Wynn’s resignation was effective immediately. It came less than two weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that a number of women said Wynn harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a US$7.5 million settlement.
“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” Wynn said in a written statement. “As I have reflected upon the environment this has created – one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts – I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”
The billionaire has vehemently denied the report’s allegations, which he attributes to a campaign led by his ex-wife. An attorney for Elaine Wynn has denied that she instigated the news report.
Wynn now faces investigations by gambling regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts, where the company is building a roughly US$2.4 billion casino just outside Boston. The company earlier said a committee of independent directors would investigate the allegations that surfaced January 26.
Ahead of the announcement, shares of Wynn Resorts’ China arm, Wynn Macau Ltd, were suspended from trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday morning.
Gambling regulators in Macau, the world’s biggest casino market, said last week they were concerned about the reports and had met with executives of Wynn Macau to get more information and the company said it would cooperate with any requests. Wynn Macau operates two casino-resorts in Macau, which is the company’s biggest source of profits.
Wynn played a major role in the revitalisation of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. He built the Bellagio, Treasure Island and Mirage before he sold his Mirage Resorts company in 2000.
Two years later, he founded Wynn Resorts, which now operates two luxurious casino-resorts in the city and is in the process of building a lake and hotel development called Paradise Park on the site of a former golf course.
Wynn’s two Macau casinos include the older Wynn Macau near the former Portuguese colony’s historic old town, and the Wynn Palace, which in 2016 became the latest opulent resort to open in the new district of Cotai, joining lavish developments by rivals including Las Vegas Sands.
In announcing Wynn’s resignation, the company’s board of directors made clear it had done so “reluctantly.”
“It is with a collective heavy heart, that the board of directors of Wynn Resorts today accepted the resignation of our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” said Boone Wayson, who was named non-executive chairman of the board. Matt Maddox, the company’s president since 2013, was named CEO effective immediately.