Ken Barton, the Chief Executive Officer of Crown Resorts, Australia's largest casino operator, has resigned amid an ongoing scandal about money laundering activities in the company's Melbourne and Perth casinos. In a statement on January 15, the company said that Helen Coonan has been appointed Executive Chairman and will head the company in the interim while the Board of Directors searches for a new CEO.
Coonan said of the change of leadership: “Assuming the role of Executive Chairman is a decision I have not taken lightly but the Board feels it provides leadership stability and certainty at this important time for the business. The Board is determined to maintain the momentum as Crown takes significant steps to improve our governance, compliance and culture.”
Barton, who had been with the company for over 10 years and also served as Chief Financial Officer, was blamed for poor corporate governance and poor corporate culture in an investigation by the New South Wales Liquor and Gambling Authority. The full report was released last week, and in the following days, various members of senior leadership implicated in the investigation's findings stepped down, including three members of the Board of Directors, the CE of Crown's Australian resorts, and the Chief Legal Officer.
In a statement on February 16, Crown Resorts also revealed that it has been denied a license for its new Sydney casino, despite the departure of the CEO and directors.