The new CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. began his tenure with several announcements, including the possible sale of the Wynn Boston Harbor project in Everett, Massachusetts.
Matt Maddox, who was recently appointed as the new CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd., began the first-quarter earnings call of the company with much to discuss. Maddox started the meeting by reviewing how the last three months had been eventful for the company and he discussed the potential sale of the Everett project, if necessary to protect the firm’s bottom line.
Scandal and strategy
The year started badly for Wynn Resorts, as a story broke in late January about alleged sexual misconduct by Steve Wynn. The 76-year-old gambling mogul resigned as CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. in February after allegations surfaced involving women who worked at Wynn Resorts properties.
After the news broke, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided to review Wynn Resorts’ gambling license for the Boston Harbor Project. Gambling regulators in Nevada also began to review the company, which led to Wynn to resign from his CEO role and sell his shares.
During the meeting, it was revealed that $241.7m (£173.5m) was spent during the first quarter to develop the Wynn Boston Harbor property in Everett, making a total of $1.38bn (£1bn) spent since the project broke ground two years ago. The project is still on time and on budget, but the strategy of Wynn Resorts may now be to offload the property, if it becomes necessary.
Asked about the strategy for Wynn Boston Harbor, new CEO Maddox revealed that, while the company likes the market in the Greater Boston area, it could be willing to sell the property if the bottom line is at risk.
In the earnings call, Maddox stated: “We’re a $30 billion (£21.bn) company, and if there was ever any risk, due to heightened rhetoric, that there would be any contagion from Massachusetts into (the company), we will have to take a hard look at what is best to protect our shareholders and our value. We love the market. We’re going to continue to actively cooperate with the regulator there and move forward. But, at the same time, we will always be protecting our shareholders and our employees.”
New female board members
During the earnings call, Maddox also discussed the appointment of three new female board members. This is one of many changes that the company made in the first quarter. In the aftermath of the scandal, board members have left or are in the process of leaving. Alvin Shoemaker and Ray Irani announced they were stepping down after the scandal broke, with Shoemaker set to leave when his term ends next year. J. Edward Virtue plans to leave the board next month.
The Wynn Resorts Board has now brought on three new board members as a way to start a new era for the company. Corporate governance advocate Betsy Atkins, former spokeswoman for President Bill Clinton Dee Dee Myers, and former Walt Disney Co. investor-relations chief Wendy Webb are the latest members to join the board. The board of directors for Wynn Resorts now has 11 members.
The chairman of the Wynn Resorts board of directors, D. Boone Wayson, said: “We are pleased to welcome Betsy, Dee Dee, and Wendy to the Wynn Resorts Board of Directors following a thorough search process that included input from shareholders and an independent executive search firm. We are confident that their extensive and wide-ranging expertise will provide fresh and valuable perspectives to support the Company’s leadership team and business strategy.”
“To be clear, this is the first step in our effort to refresh the Board. We intend to add additional new directors in the coming months. The Board is committed to enhancing value for our shareholders, delivering superior experiences for customers and creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all of the Company’s employees.”