Wynn Resorts Ltd – parent company of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd – has promised to recommend at least one “diverse” candidate for membership of the board before year-end.
“The corporate governance committee will name one or more diverse directors to the board by the end of 2015,” the parent firm said in a filing to Nasdaq on Wednesday.
Wynn Resorts would “prioritise women and diverse candidates in its search,” the filing added.
On March 17, current Wynn Resorts director Elaine Wynn – whom the company is not renominating for re-election for the board in a vote at an annual meeting of shareholders on April 24 – said her de facto exclusion would be “bad business”.
“We are a global consumer-oriented company that strives to appeal to both men and women and, as a result, I think it is vital that the views of 50 percent of the population be represented on the board. In my opinion, the exclusion of any diverse voices from the board is not just a symbolic misstep, it’s bad business,” Ms Wynn, ex-wife of company founder and chairman Steve Wynn, added in her proxy filing.
For the April 24 proxy vote, Wynn Resorts has nominated two existing directors – John Hagenbuch and J. Edward Virtue – to continue on the board for three-year terms. Ms Wynn is waging a campaign urging voting shareholders to keep her on the board.
On Sunday, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc (ISS) – which advises professional investors how to manage corporate governance risk related to their holdings – recommended that Wynn Resorts’ shareholders withhold support for all candidates currently seeking a seat on the company’s board, as a form of protest.
Ms Wynn “also bears responsibility for the manifest failures of governance incidental to her arguments but nonetheless highlighted by this proxy contest,” ISS said.
Wynn Resorts said in its Wednesday filing that it was “taking steps to enhance the board’s independence, broaden its skills and experience and increase its effectiveness”. It reiterated a request for investors to back its nominees, Mr Hagenbuch and Mr Virtue, as directors.
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"The six Macau casino operators should not be penalised for upping expenditure on player incentives, so long as their EBITDA margins are not materially diluted”
George Choi and Ryan Cheung
Analysts at Citigroup