Tuesday, February 27

Independent monitor says Star Entertainment Group now ready to execute reform program – IAG

The first report from an independent monitor appointed by Australia’s Star Entertainment Group to oversee delivery of its remediation program says the program appears sufficiently developed to proceed but has warned the scope of reformation required may be greater than anticipated.

Allen & Overy Consulting was appointed by Star in August with the casino operator stating at the time that they would be tasked with monitoring the design and implementation of the company’s Renewal Program.

The independent monitor differs from the special manager recently appointed to oversee The Star Sydney by the NSW Independent Casino Commission, which has suspended the company’s NSW casino license after an inquiry found Star unsuitable.

Star has also been found unsuitable in Queensland, where it operates The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, and will see a second special manager appointed to oversee its efforts north of the border.

Publishing its first report on Monday, Allen & Overy Consulting said it believes Star’s remediation program is “sufficiently developed for the [Star] Board to consider commencing the execution phase.”

In particular, it found the scope of the program is designed to address the root causes of unsuitability raised by the Bell Report in NSW and the Gotterson Report in Queensland, that arrangements are in place to ensure program delivery and that individual executives have been identified who will be accountable for doing so.

However, Allen & Overy has asked questions around the need to update program timelines to ensure delivery and tp update executive-level performance measures in relation to the program.

“In our view, these enquiries do not preclude [Star] from moving into execution phase,” it said. “Instead, they should inform the iteration of planning documents to ensure the Program delivers sustainable change.

“We will monitor developments closely in this respect, including by seeking input from the newly appointed Manager of The Star Sydney, as well as any other person(s) that may be appointed to a similar Manager role in relation to The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane.”

While we haven’t yet had an opportunity to interview the incoming CEO (Robert Cooke), we have, in the course of preparing this Report, engaged with a number of [Star’s] senior leaders including the Interim Chair of the Board Mr Ben Heap.

“On the basis of these conversations, and reflecting on the scale of [Star’s] investment and the degree of senior focus being shown, we believe [Star] recognises the degree of challenge it faces in remediating the root causes and restoring trust, and has shown an intention to do so.”

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