O’Neill Steps Down as Star’s Executive Chairman

In Summary:

  • John O’Neill has announced that he has stepped down from the position of executive chairman for The Star Entertainment Group
  • The resignation comes days prior to the date O’Neill will give testimony during a public hearing in regards to the Sydney casino
  • O’Neill was appointed executive chairman on April 1, replacing ex managing director Matt Bekier

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At the beginning of the month, ex-rugby star and Star Entertainment chairman of Star Entertainment Group John O’Neill announced he would temporarily take over the managing director and chief executive officer position. Now, O’Neill announced his resignation just days before a public hearing where he will testify in regards to the group’s casino in Sydney. Other executives are expected to soon follow suit, including Gerard Bradley and Sally Pitkin who made their resignation plans public in mid-May.

O’Neill Replaced Former CEO Matt Bekier

O’Neill was appointed executive chairman on April 1, with the purpose of replacing ex-chief executive officer and managing director Matt Bekier. The latter’s resignation was forced by a number of concerns that popped up while The Star was being reviewed by New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, with Adam Bell SC in the lead.

O’Neill’s interim appointment included a series of responsibilities that he was expected to embrace while the group would look for a permanent executive to fill in the position. The Star was quick to act and hired headhunting company Spencer Stuart to do the search. However, O’Neill didn’t last for more than a month, deciding to step down from both his executive chairman position, as well as The Star’s board. The exact date of his departure is still unknown. Nonetheless, the group announced O’Neill’s transition will be completed in an “orderly manner.”

A Matter of Timing?

This news of the resignation comes right after the group decided to reconfirm its commitment to not doing business with junkets, while suspending all of its national and global rebate play programs. The former executive chairman was originally scheduled to appear in front of a New South Wales public hearing related to the group’s Sydney casino on May 16. However, the hearing that is set to determine whether the Sydney casino is still entitled to keep its license was delayed until May 23 and is expected to end on August 31.

So far, the evidence brought against the group during the inquiry convinced chief executive Matt Bekier, chief casino officer Greg Hawkins, chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin, and chief financial officer Harry Theodore to resign. The same is expected to happen with many other Star directors as soon as their mismanagement testimonies will come to an end.