Casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd on Friday said that shareholders decided not to return Elaine Wynn (pictured) – co-founder and former wife of chairman and chief executive, Steve Wynn – to its board, ending the most public proxy battle in the company’s 13-year history.
Ms Wynn, the company’s third-largest shareholder, failed in her attempt to get re-elected.
Wynn Resorts – parent firm of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd – said a preliminary vote count at its annual shareholder meeting in Las Vegas showed that shareholders have re-elected its own nominees, John J. Hagenbuch and J. Edward Virtue. The company didn’t disclose the percentage of votes each candidate won.
In a statement, Wynn Resorts thanked Ms Wynn, who has been on the board since the parent business was founded in 2002, for her service and reiterated its commitment to improving its board.
“We look forward to expanding the board with one or more qualified, diverse and independent directors by the end of 2015, which is a key step in our ongoing effort to enhance the board’s independence, broaden the skills and experience of the board and increase its effectiveness,” the company said. The decision by stockholders not to vote for Ms Wynn’s independent ticket means there are now no women on the board – a point Ms Wynn was keen to make during her near two-month-long election campaign.
Wynn Resorts’ board said in late February that it had decided not to renominate Ms Wynn for board membership, citing a 2012 lawsuit she brought that seeks to free her of the obligation to vote her stock with Mr Wynn, the company’s second-largest shareholder. The agreement effectively gives Mr Wynn a voting majority over the the largest single institutional Wynn Resorts shareholder, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. The latter has 16.79 percent of the casino operator according to recent regulatory filings by Wynn Resorts.
In a separate statement on Friday, Ms Wynn said: “While I am certainly disappointed by the result of today’s vote, I am hopeful that I have once again served as an agent for change and improvement for this company, which I love so deeply.”
“It remains to be seen if the directors of this company will deliver on the commitments they have made to greater independence, diversity and oversight of management,” she said, adding that she will remain committed to holding the company accountable to shareholders.
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