Two weeks after Blackstone's takeover

Crown's CEO Steve McCann steps down; to be replaced by Wynn Macau COO Ciarán Carruthers

Ciarán Carruthers, outgoing COO of Wynn Macau and newly appointed CEO of Crown.
Reading time 2:01 min

Only two weeks after Blackstone’s acquisition, Australian casino giant Crown Resorts announced CEO Steve McCann’s resignation. As reported by the US private equity firm, he will be replaced by industry veteran Ciarán Carruthers, who has just resigned as COO of Wynn Macau.

According to the firm, the exiting CEO will now be “pursuing other opportunities," as he has just received a one-off grant of 400,000 performance rights that vested with the takeover, netting him an approximate AUD 5.2 million ($3.8 million). The departing chief executive had arrived at the firm as it was battling to rebuild its reputation after a series of public scandals. 

In an official statement, McCann addressed his resignation and said: “I came into this role at a very challenging time for Crown and I will leave Crown proud that we have made a positive impact on the future of this business. I’d like to thank the hardworking board members of Crown who have provided me tremendous support as well as every member of the team who has contributed their important part."

Ciarán Carruthers is a highly experienced and respected industry veteran who shares our commitment to continuing the transformation at Crown and delivering an exceptional experience for all visitors,” Blackstone said on Thursday.

Blackstone thanked McCann for helping to implement “a strong reform and remediation plan and improving the culture of Crown Resorts," and added it is committed to investing in Crown and to helping it “realize its true potential as a world-class leader in travel and leisure”. 

To that end, the company unveiled new board appointees. Joining Carruthers will be Bill McBeath who will act as chairman. Former Virgin Australia managing director John Borghetti will be the chair of Crown’s Sydney operations, and John Van Der Wielen will chair Crown Perth. 

Ciarán Carruthers, former COO of Wynn Macau.

The news comes two weeks after Blackstone’s takeover of Crown came into effect. McCann was one of several new appointments in 2021 following a boardroom clearout after a series of damaging public inquiries. 

The company, which runs casinos in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, has been accused of poor corporate culture and adherence to responsible gambling laws, and links to money laundering and organized crime. Rival casino operator Star Entertainment is now also going through its own inquiry in NSW and Queensland amid similar allegations. Crown has so far managed to retain each of its operating licenses despite the fact that three states found it “unfit” to run a casino. 

Back in June, the company was granted permission to open its Barangaroo Resort casino in Sydney, having only been allowed to run accommodation and food services for the first 18 months of its existence. However, it is currently facing an ongoing slog to prove it can abide by the rules.  

The influence of former major shareholder James Packer was also probed during the public hearings. He received AUD 3.3 billion ($2.2 billion) for his slice of Crown shares after Blackstone completed the buyout. 

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