Crown names Lendlease boss Steve McCann as new CEO

Crown Resorts has appointed outgoing Lendlease boss Steve McCann as its new chief executive and managing director.

The James Packer-backed casino giant made the announcement on Monday morning, with Mr McCann to take the reins at Crown as it becomes the subject of a takeover battle and faces an ongoing regulatory storm that threatens its casino licences in three states.

Lendlease CEO Steve McCann will leave the company at the end of May.Credit:Peter Rae

Crown’s last CEO, Ken Barton, resigned in February in the wake of the damning Bergin inquiry which found the company was unfit to run its new Sydney casino because of money laundering and other probity issue at its Melbourne and Perth properties.

Chairman Helen Coonan has been filling the role as executive chairman, which will continue until McCann receives the necessary probity approvals to start his role.

“Steve is a first-class appointment for Crown and the right person to embed the ongoing reforms necessary to restore regulatory and public confidence in our operations,” Ms Coonan said.

“Steve has a unique blend of strategic, financial and corporate governance expertise and a track record of building strong employee engagement and driving cultural change.”

Ms Coonan said Mr McCann was “ideally placed to hit the ground running as our sweeping reform program takes hold.”

Mr McCann has been CEO of property giant Lendlease for a decade, and delayed his retirement from the group to oversee its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is set to step down on May 31.

“I am looking forward to joining Crown at a crucial time for the organisation and see a real opportunity to help drive significant shareholder value as the company addresses its challenges and emerges from the constraints of the pandemic,” he said.

Crown is in the middle of a takeover battle and a regulatory storm. Credit:Chris Hopkins

The appointment comes as rival casino operator The Star Entertainment Group launches a $12 billion merger proposal with Crown, going head-to-head with a takeover bid from US private equity group Blackstone and an approach from American outfit Oaktree.

More to come

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