The Star Entertainment Group, whose NSW casino license is subject to an ongoing government inquiry, has chosen a new CEO to lead its recovery, appointing Tyro Payments CEO and managing director Robert Cooke.
In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange [pdf], The Star said Cooke brought “the ideal combination of experience, capabilities and attributes”.
Cooke has been CEO and managing director of Tyro Payments since 2018, and before that, he spent seven years at the helm of Wotif followed by five years as CEO and managing director of the Tatts Group.
While head of Tyro Payments, Cooke led the organisation through a successful IPO in 2019.
“Robbie is well placed to lead The Star and restore confidence in the organisation," interim chairman Ben Heap said.
“He is an outstanding choice to guide the company through its critical ongoing renewal program, a body of work already underway that will deliver a number of near and medium-term initiatives focussed on governance, culture, training, systems and technology”.
Cooke said “there are challenges for The Star that have been well documented. They will be my priority and focus."
“Ensuring continuity of the business through a comprehensive renewal program is of paramount importance," Cooke said.
The Star is currently led by Geoff Hogg, who was appointed acting CEO at the beginning of June.
The Star's casino license is subject to an ongoing inquiry by the NSW government’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority under Adam Bell SC, which has heard allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal infiltration against the company.
In response, The Star has accepted widespread failings and has begun a top-down program of cleaning up its management and key staff.
High-profile departures included executive chairman John O’Neill, CEO Matt Bekier, chief financial officer Harry Theodore and chief casino officer Greg Hawkins.