Commonwealth Bank of Australia Executive Scott Wharton is joining Star Entertainment Group taking up two prominent positions within the company – CEO of the company’s casino The Star Sydney and Group Head of Transformation.
Wharton’s Strong Background and Experience
The announcement of Wharton’s appointment follows another important shift in the company’s top executive team with the hire of Tatts Group’s ex-CEO, Robert Cooke, who replaced Matt Bekier as the new managing director and CEO of Star Entertainment Group. Bekier submitted his resignation in March after various issues with money laundering protections and controls were discovered during a regulatory review into the casino’s operations. Wharton, the newly appointed CEO of The Star Sydney, is going to report directly to Cooke.
Wharton joins Star Entertainment Group from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia where he was executive general manager for three years and then served as group executive for program delivery for another three years. In his last role, he was responsible for a wide, across-the-board reorganization and transformation of the bank via various separate programs, aiming to bring simplicity and improvement to the bank’s structure and processes.
Star Entertainment Group’s interim chairman, Ben Heap, has praised Wharton’s experience with organizing significant reforms in a big organization such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and has said he is going to have a valuable role in Star Entertainment Group’s own renewal program. When talking about Wharton’s appointment, Heap also added:
“His leadership, capabilities, expertise in delivering significant transformation working closely with regulators, together with his commercial skills and experience managing complex businesses, made him the ideal candidate to take on this key position within the organization.”
Star Entertainment Group’s Ben Heap
Heap also pointed out that Wharton has led big teams and managed complex transformation programs with large budgets across three continents.
The Star Sydney’s License Woes
Wharton comes to The Star Sydney during challenging times for the casino. It has been declared unsuitable to continue to hold its New South Wales gambling license during a review of its operations. The inquiry found many failings in terms of anti-money laundering controls at the casino. The main issue was the venue’s dealings with Asian junkets, one of which was allowed to have its own VIP room at the casino. Another problem was that Chinese UnionPay cards were used illegally. The Star Sydney, however, has not been stripped of its New South Wales license. Currently, it has been offered a plan, which can lead to the casino becoming suitable to hold its license again.