Star Entertainment Group appoints new interim chairman and CEO

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The Star Entertainment Group has appointed Geoff Hogg as its acting CEO and Ben Heap as interim chairman, following the resignation of Matt Bekier.

O’Neill handed in his resignation on Friday, also stepping down from the board. He was appointed as executive chairman on an interim basis on 1 April following Bekier’s resignation from his role as managing director and CEO on 28 March.

O’Neill will formally stand down on 31 May after transitioning his chair and executive responsibilities.

Hogg is also the interim chief casino officer for NSW and Queensland.

The Star began its search for a permanent CEO last month after Bekier announced he would take “responsibility” for the company’s actions amid ongoing misconduct investigations.

In a statement, Star Entertainment said Bekier informed the board that he was accountable for the effectiveness and adequacy of the company’s processes, policies, people and culture.

Widespread media reporting in October 2021 claimed that Star had cultivated high-roller players who were allegedly associated with criminal or foreign-influence operations and had failed to comply with its obligations under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

The allegations prompted the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to launch an inquiry into whether Star remained suitable to hold its casino licence, led by Adam Bell SC – the counsel assisting the Bergin Inquiry which in 2020 examined money laundering, criminal infiltration and governance failings at Crown – would examine the allegations as part of public hearings.

The royal commission-style public probe began in March and has so far heard that Star misled its banks and the NSW casino regulator, ignored clear risks of money laundering occurring at its properties, and had otherwise failed to operate ethically.

In response to those media reports, Star’s share price declined by more than 25 per cent, wiping more than $1 billion from the company’s value, prompting investors to hit the company with a class action.


Featured image: iStock/kokkai

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