Struggling Star Entertainment appoints Steve Mccann as CEO

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR), the struggling Sydney-based casino group, seems to have a more positive future with the confirmation of a much-tipped CEO, Steve McCann.

McCann, a former CEO of Crown Resorts and Lendlease, has considerable experience dealing with companies in difficult situations. His appointment was announced Wednesday morning by recently named chair Anne Ward, who, like McCann, has significant boardroom experience and maturity.

McCann has been tipped as the new CEO for weeks, but his acceptance followed lengthy negotiations. He will assume the position on July 8. McCann led Crown Resorts through its Blackstone takeover, meaning he already has probity approval from regulators, especially in NSW.

He will receive a sign-on bonus of $2.5 million and could earn up to $10 million in bonuses by the end of the 2026 financial year.

His task will be enormous. Star is only weeks away from knowing if it will be able to keep its Sydney casino doors open, while it is due to open a new $3.6 billion precinct in Brisbane known as Queens Wharf Brisbane later this year.

The company issued a sombre trading update on Monday, revealing that trading across its three casinos (in Sydney, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast) remains down due to a lack of high rollers and small punters staying away amid the macroeconomic cost-of-living pressures.

Its earnings have also been hampered by increased costs associated with regulatory compliance. The update suggests that the company will report another loss for the year ending June 30, though it will not be as big as the $2.4 billion reported for 2022-23, which included $2.48 billion in significant items and losses.

In Wednesday’s statement, McCann acknowledged the challenges the group faces and expressed his readiness to address them.

“I am committed to working with the board and the various stakeholders to help drive change, restore confidence, and achieve a sustainable resolution," he said.

Star Chair Anne Ward stated the board was pleased to have secured McCann.

“Given his time at Crown and previous long-standing leadership at Lendlease, he has the right credentials to lead The Star’s remediation program,” she said in the statement.

His appointment follows The Star naming one of his former Crown executives, Jeannie Mok, as its chief operating officer. Mok joined The Star after two years at Crown, where she led its transformation strategy and multi-year roadmap towards suitability to operate its casinos in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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