The Star names John O’Neill Interim Executive Chairman to replace outgoing CEO

By Gambling Insider

The Star Entertainment Group has named current Board Chair John O’Neill Executive Chairman on an interim basis, assuming the responsibilities of the beleaguered company’s outgoing CEO.

In the wake of Matt Bekier’s resignation, which came amid an ongoing public hearing into alleged anti-money laundering (AML) failures, The Star has appointed O’Neill to lead the company until a new CEO and Managing Director can be found.

The Star said it has engaged headhunting firm Spencer Stuart to search for a replacement, but until one is located, O’Neill will serve as Executive Chairman, though Bekier will be available in the short term to assist with the transition.

While undertaking the responsibilities of his temporary role, O’Neill will be paid additional remuneration, amounting to AU$1.5m (US$1.1m) per annum, or AU$125,000 per month.

This, The Star added, will bring his total pay to approximately AU$2m. The Star’s Board will also embark on “a programme of renewal in a timely manner.”

“While the board considers it critical that the company has stability in this transitional period to a new Managing Director and CEO, it acknowledges the need for accelerated board change,” The Star stated.

“As The Star continues to focus on its day-to-day business it is also committed to its more than 8,000 team members after two years of Covid-related shutdowns and restrictions.”

Regarding the ongoing review into The Star Sydney, led by Adam Bell SC, The Star said it continues to “cooperate fully.”

The public hearing related to this review heard testimony in March from Paul McWilliams, former Chief Risk Officer of The Star, who stated that Bekier had, in 2018, refused to acknowledge certain AML and counter-terrorism financing liabilities when presented with a report from audit firm KPMG.

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