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The Star Entertainment Group sees exits for both CEO and CFO

Christina Katsibouba (CFO) and Robbie Cooke (CEO) will both step down; just when you thought the Australian gambling sector could be calming down...

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After operating as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Star Entertainment Group for nine years, Christina Katsibouba has announced her decision to step down from the role – with Robbie Cooke also resigning as CEO.

Set to be replaced by Neale O’Connell as of Monday, Katsibouba has concluded her time as CFO to pursue other interests. Her recent notable achievements include helping to implement the company’s capital structure initiatives during 2023. 

Cooke's departure, meanwhile, continues a trend of instability for Australian operators amid the outcome of an inquiry in New South Wales.

“While I find the position exceptionally disappointing, I have reached the conclusion that my continuation … in the group CEO role is not going to be conducive to the NICC determining to find Star capable of becoming suitable to hold a casino licence in NSW,” Cooke said. “David and the next CEO have my ongoing support in delivering on the key business and important strategic initiatives that are underway.”

Chair of Star Entertainment, David Foster, spoke on Katsibouba’s tenure as CFO, stating, “Christina stepped into the CFO role following the bell inquiry in 2022 and after two challenging years has decided the time is right to move on. She leaves with both the Board’s and my personal thanks, for her tireless efforts as CFO, and as an executive with the group. We wish her well.” 

Her replacement, Mr. O’Connell, brings experience in both the gaming and leisure industries. He spent six years as CFO at Tatts Group between 2021-18, and more recently as CFO of Corporate Travel Management between 2019-21.  

Foster also commented on Mr. O'Connell's appointment, saying, “Neale is a highly capable and credentialed replacement. With both an industry and listed company track record, he will bring new perspectives and leadership to our executive team. Star operates in a highly regulated environment and is going through significant internal change. Neale’s expertise from previous roles will be highly valued.”  

This announcement comes shortly after Star Entertainment Group posted its net revenue at $865.7m for the first half of 2024. The figure marks a 14.6% decrease compared to the figures from H1 2023.  

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