The first woman to serve as White House press secretary during Democrat Bill Clinton’s first term as U.S. President is one of three women being added to the board of casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd, the firm said in a Wednesday press release. The appointments, effective immediately, come in the aftermath of claims there was a culture within the firm of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment.
The firm’s founder Steve Wynn resigned in February as chairman and chief executive amid allegations directed against him. In late January, Mr Wynn had also resigned from his role as Republican National Committee finance chair. Mr Wynn denies the claims.
Wynn Resorts is the parent company of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd.
As well as having worked for President Clinton, Margaret Myers – known as Dee Dee – is currently an executive vice president at Warner Bros. Entertainment, with responsibility for worldwide corporate communications and public affairs.
The other women being added to Wynn Resorts’ board are: Betsy Atkins, an entrepreneur who was chief executive of the firm that created the PowerBar protein snack, and who currently serves on the boards of Cognizant, SL Green Realty and Schneider Electric, and is a member of the board of Volvo Cars (Private); and Wendy Webb, CEO of Kestrel Advisors, which guides corporations on growth initiatives, governance, investor relations and strategic issues. She also spent 20 years as a senior executive at The Walt Disney Corp, including as senior vice president of investor relations and shareholder services.
Matt Maddox, Wynn Resorts’ CEO, said in a prepared statement contained in the announcement of the new board members: “We have made it a priority to implement meaningful change at Wynn Resorts and are committed to elevating our corporate governance practices and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.”
The firm said the Wynn Resorts board now includes 11 members, comprising 36 percent women, which it said brought the firm into the top 40 S&P 500 companies in terms of female board representation.
Daniel Boone Wayson, chairman of the Wynn Resorts board of directors, said in a statement that the appointment of the three women was “the first step” in the company’s effort to “refresh the board”. “We intend to add additional new directors in the coming months,” he added.
The news of the boardroom additions comes shortly after Elaine Wynn, former wife of Mr Wynn and currently the largest shareholder in the parent business, called for a majority of the board to be comprised of new directors “effective at the 2018 annual meeting”. That is due on May 16.
The firm said in its Wednesday release that “other recent significant actions to improve the workplace environment and further stabilise Wynn initiated by the board and Maddox” included: the separation of Mr Wynn from all company operations and the sale of all of Mr Wynn’s stock in the company, including 8 million shares to two long-term institutional investors; and settling six years of litigation with Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp for US$2.4 billion, an effective redemption price of US$78 per company share.
Wynn Resorts added that other actions involved: raising US$927 million through the sale of 5.3 million shares in Wynn Resorts to Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; the resolution of litigation filed in 2012 by former board member Ms Wynn, “thereby finally resolving all claims in that litigation with no payment by Wynn Resorts”; and the creation of a new department to focus on “gender equality, diversity, fair treatment and female leadership”.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters