Wynn Resorts Ltd co-founder Elaine Wynn got one of her wishes on Monday with the resignation of Jay Hagenbuch from the casino company board only days before the annual meeting of the firm.
At the meeting, shareholders would have been asked either to back or sack the five-and-a-half-year veteran of the casino group’s boardroom, who Ms Wynn identified publicly as a legacy of the ‘old’ company; i.e. the setup prior to her ex-husband Steve Wynn resigning in February as chairman and chief executive amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Mr Wynn has denied wrongdoing.
Wynn Resorts is the parent of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd.
Mr Hagenbuch had advised the company that he has “determined to step down… effective immediately prior to the annual meeting and not to stand for re-election,” said one of two Monday filings on the matter by Wynn Resorts to Nasdaq in New York.
It further noted: “In addition, Robert J. Miller resigned from the board, effective May 14, 2018.”
Mr Miller’s term as a director of the company was scheduled to expire in 2020 and he was not a nominee for re-election at the annual meeting.
Ms Wynn said in a statement after the Monday news of the two resignations, that it was “a good step towards establishing the ‘New Wynn,’ but there remains more work to be done.”
Ms Wynn – who was herself ousted from the Wynn Resorts board in 2015 – had campaigned against Mr Hagenbuch’s re-election.
Wynn Resorts said: “These departures, along with the previously announced departures of directors Steve Wynn, Ray Irani, and Ted Virtue, and the upcoming departure of director Alvin Shoemaker in 2019, represent 60 percent of the board that was serving at the beginning of the year and will reduce the median tenure of directors to less than three years.”
The filing added: “In April 2018, the board elected three new female directors, resulting in a current representation of female board members of almost 50 percent.”
One of Ms Wynn’s complaints had been that the board had been dominated by her ex-husband’s friends, and that this had affected the board’s ability to stand up to Mr Wynn on corporate governance issues.
Mr Hagenbuch said in a prepared statement contained in one of two Monday filings: “Over the past three months, the board has done a remarkable job maintaining stability at Wynn and managing through a tumultuous time that could easily have caused much deeper disruption to the company’s business. There is still more work to be done, and I do not want my candidacy to detract from the important progress we have made throughout the organisation, including the ongoing refreshment process this board has initiated.”
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China