Crown Resorts’ shareholders voted against the executive pay plans of the Australian casino giant for the second year in a row at its annual meeting that took place earlier today. They, however, turned down a follow-up option to expel the entire board of the company.
Almost 31% of proxy votes were cast against the remuneration report of the gambling operator before its annual general meeting on October 21st. As mentioned above, this has been the second straight year when Crown Resorts’ shareholders have rebelled against the casino giant, exceeding the25% threshold that is necessary to register a “strike” against the operator.
Reportedly, the two consecutive strikes paved the way for a resolution to oust the entire company’s board, but the gambling operator’s investors voted against the idea with an overwhelming majority of 95%.
It was revealed that executives who have already left Crown Resorts received over AU$20 million over the 2021 financial year. The aforementioned amount includes termination payments of more than AU$9.5 million.
Jane Halton, the acting chair of the operator, defended the abovementioned payments, saying that Crown Resorts was required to make them under the long-standing agreements it had with the executives in question. She, however, explained, that the Board was in the process of overhauling the existing executive pay regime and added that the company’s shareholders have been looking for an explanation of the termination payments that had been made by the operator.
Crown Resorts Faces Difficulties Following Inquiries in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia
Ms Halton has refused to let Ziggy Switkowski, who is expected to replace her at the Chair position at the Board, answer questions regarding the termination payments. She further said that questions about should not be asked to new directors Bruce Carter and Nigel Morrison, who were elected with the shareholders’ votes – more than 99% in favour of the appointment. According to her, the annual general meeting of Crown Resorts was not the right place to discuss the track records of new directors who have joined the team of the gambling operator from other companies.
Crown Resorts has faced serious difficulties because of allegations that the Australian casino operator had facilitated money laundering at its casinos in Perth and Melbourne, and its operations were subject to inquiries in the states of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW). The company has also been criticised for using the services of so-called junket operators that had been linked to organised crime.
The Australian gambling giant is still trying to deal with the consequences of the devastating report issued by NSW Commissioner Patricia Bergin, who found the company unfit to keep its operating licence for its new Barangaroo casino in Sydney.
At the same time, Crown Resorts is awaiting the release of the Royal Commission in Victoria, which is expected to be issued in the next few weeks. The probe is aimed at checking the gambling operator’s services in order for the Commissioners to decide whether the company should be stripped of its permit to operate its casino in Melbourne. A third inquiry in the casino company is also underway in the state of Western Australia.