Demetriou quits Crown, CEO holding on

Former AFL chief Andrew Demetriou is the latest to step down from the Crown Resorts board but chief executive Ken Barton has not yet resigned.

Crown Resorts in a statement on Friday confirmed the departure of Mr Demetriou after a scathing NSW review of the casino giant.

But Mr Barton is “continuing to consider his position”.

Mr Barton looked set to become the fourth director to head for the exit on Thursday, with reports – denied by Crown – that he agreed to step down after meeting with company chair Helen Coonan. 

Mr Demetriou tendered his resignation on Thursday “to give Crown the best possible chance of becoming suitable to the NSW regulator”.

“In taking this decision I believe the comments directed at me in the report are unfair and unjust and I will defend my reputation at every opportunity,” he said. 

Mr Barton and Mr Demetriou would both have to leave the company for it to have a chance of keeping the licence for its Sydney casino, the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority chair suggested on Thursday.

ILGA chair Philip Crawford said on Thursday it was “obvious” from reading a damning inquiry report Mr Barton and Mr Demetriou needed to exit.

The report from Commissioner Patricia Bergin this week found Crown was not currently fit to run the new casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo.

It singled out Mr Barton and Mr Demetriou for particular criticism. 

Mr Demetriou was sprung reading from notes in the witness box when quizzed about corporate governance and company culture. 

He initially denied he had been reading from a script but Ms Bergin found the text of his notes were nearly identical to the words in his answer. 

She described his performance as “most unedifying” and “quite bizarre”.

Ms Coonan on Thursday promised “root and branch” changes to satisfy the ILGA Crown could be trusted to run the casino after Ms Bergin found the company facilitated money laundering.

Mr Crawford wants the company to make changes quickly, flagging that Crown Sydney’s liquor licences are set to expire in April.

The ILGA board will meet to discuss the report on Friday.

Mr Crawford also welcomed the departure of directors Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston from the Crown board on Wednesday.

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