Workplace language controversy

Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild resigns amid allegations of inappropriate language

Tabcorp Holdings CEO, Adam Rytenskild
Reading time 1:31 min

Australian wagering company Tabcorp Holdings has announced the resignation of its CEO, Adam Rytenskild, following allegations of "inappropriate" and "offensive" language in the workplace.

The company disclosed on Thursday that its board had become aware of the CEO's use of language deemed inconsistent with leadership standards, prompting discussions that led to Rytenskild's immediate resignation.

While Rytenskild stated that he does not recall making the alleged comments, he acknowledged the situation, saying: "It's not language that I would usually use, but I have regrettably agreed to resign."

Rytenskild was appointed CEO in June 2022 and has served with the wagering firm for over two decades. "Tabcorp has been an enormous part of my life for many years and I believe in the journey the company is on," Rytenskild said.

In response to Rytenskild's departure, Tabcorp Chairman Bruce Akhurst will assume the role of executive chairman until a suitable replacement is found. The company has engaged Maritana Partners to conduct a global search for a new managing director and CEO.

"The Board regrets that Mr Rytenskild's employment has ended in this way and acknowledges his commitment to Tabcorp's growth over more than two decades, including the last two years as MD & CEO," Akhurst said.

While details of the complaint remain undisclosed, Rytenskild is set to forfeit all incentive payments, estimated to be between AUD5 million and AUD10 million ($3.3 million to 6.6 million).

Despite the upheaval caused by Rytenskild's exit, Akhurst assured stakeholders that the company's strategic direction remains intact. "We have the depth and capability across the executive and the senior leadership team to continue our transformation," he affirmed.

Rytenskild's tenure as CEO has been marked by efforts to rejuvenate Tabcorp's culture and product offerings. His strategic vision aimed to transition Tabcorp from a traditional retail wagering operator to a competitive digital bookmaker, seeking to regain market share lost to international rivals.

Under Rytenskild's leadership, Tabcorp secured favorable tax arrangements in key markets and negotiated license extensions, including an AUD860 million ($567.7 million) deal in Victoria. However, the company's recent financial performance reflects ongoing challenges in the wagering market, with a $637 million ($420.5 million) loss for the six months to December 31 and a decline in revenue and earnings.

Tabcorp shares closed lower following the announcement of Rytenskild's resignation, ending the day at AUD 76¢, down 2.6%.

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