Asia Bulletin: Scott Wharton resigns as the Star Sydney's CEO

The Star Sydney’s CEO, Scott Wharton, has resigned from his position after less than 12 months in the job.

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Wharton will leave his post on 28 April and join Smartgroup as its new CEO in July. His resignation adds to parent company, The Star Entertainment, reporting a AU$1.26bn loss (US$840m) for the half-year ending 31 December 2022.

The Star casino has been at the forefront of one of Australia’s biggest recent gambling controversies after it managed to keep its doors open following a AU$100m fine, and the suspension of its licence after Adam Bell’s damning report into its business failings.

The list of reported failings in Bell’s report included links to organised crime and major corporate social responsibility issues. Wharton leaving signifies yet more problems for the embattled resort, which, despite all of its problems, remains open.

The decision not to remove its licence was met with questions from the public last year; however, Philip Crawford, Chief Commissioner of the NICC (the body that handed out the huge fine to The Star) said following Bell’s report: “The NICC has regard to the fact that had it determined to cancel the licence, thousands of Star employees would have lost their jobs overnight. At this point, the commission did not consider this to be in the public interest.”

Star Entertainment was also forced to sell its shares at a discount to raise an estimated AU$800m, following the news that it owed AU$1.3bn to lenders.

Robbie Cooke, CEO and Managing Director of Star Entertainment, said of the move: "It does put the business in a very difficult position and it would require very significant changes to the business."

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