nother Crown Resorts director, John Poynton, has resigned from the board and as chairman of the company's Burswood casino in Perth, with immediate effect.
Crown chair Helen Coonan said in a statement that the decision was "appropriate" after concerns by the New South Wales gaming regulator about Poynton's perceived lack of independence from a past relationship with majority shareholder James Packer. "John has agreed to resign in the best interests of Crown and our shareholders, despite no adverse findings by the Commissioner in the ILGA Inquiry in relation to his suitability, integrity or performance," Coonan said, as reported by ABC News. "On behalf of the Board, I thank John for his contribution to Crown over many years."
Poynton is the fifth Crown director to resign from the company's board in the wake of the release of the report last month by Commissioner Patricia Bergin. The New South Wales inquiry found Crown Resorts was unsuitable to hold a casino licence due to poor governance.
The report made 19 recommendations, including proposing several legislative changes aimed specifically at addressing money laundering activities uncovered at Crown Casino Perth and the company's Melbourne operation during the inquiry.
Two weeks ago Western Australia (WA)'s gaming regulator recommended the McGowan government establish an independent inquiry into Crown's suitability to hold the state's only casino licence. Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said he would move quickly to establish the inquiry, which would be given four months to investigate.
Poynton said he decided to resign in the best interests of Crown and its shareholders, despite the Bergin Inquiry making no findings against his integrity or performance on the Crown board. "Given the advice from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority about perceptions about my independence arising out of my past relationship with James Packer and CPH, I believe resigning is the right thing to do," he said.
He also said the inquiry noted his commitment and contribution would be integral to Crown's future success. WA Premier Mark McGowan said no matter how the Crown saga played out, he hoped the organisation would be able to continue to operate in WA. "The most important thing for me is that Crown has the highest standards and that they continue to employ West Australians," he said. "Whatever needs to be done, we will do to ensure that the highest standards are in place, but that doesn't mean someone working as a croupier, a cleaner or a security guards needs to lose their job.