Star Entertainment Appoints New Chairman Following Departure of Foster

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David Foster has stepped down from his role as chairman of Star Entertainment Group and he has been replaced by Anne Ward with immediate effect.

Foster replaced Ben Heap in December 2022 to become chairman after joining the board in August 2022. Prior to that, he spent more than 25 years working in finance, including spending time as CEO of Suncorp Bank. Foster has also held positions on the boards of companies in finance, retail, education, and more.

While Ward has taken over with immediate effect, Foster will remain on the board for an interim period to continue his existing executive responsibilities.

Ward Confirmed as New Chairman

Anne Ward was confirmed as the new chairman on the same day as Foster’s departure was announced.

Ward joined the board at Star at the same time as Foster. In the past, she has worked in fields such as finance, technology, insurance, healthcare, education, tourism and entertainment. She also spent time on the board at Crown Resorts between September 2021 and June 2022 before stepping down when Crown Resorts was taken over by Blackstone.

Ward has held the position of chairman of Zoos Victoria, Qantas Superannuation, Symbio and Flexigroup. Currently, she is a director at Imaging Research and Articore.

Several High-Level Departures at Star

Foster’s departure is the latest significant exit at Star following the start of the Second Bell inquiry in February. The inquiry will continue until 31 May and it is following up on the first Bell report.

The initial Bell report highlighted issues with anti-money laundering and social responsibility at Star Sydney and suggested 30 improvements. A subsequent report, a year later, indicated that Star had implemented 22 out of these 30 recommendations.

The focus of the second inquiry is on Star's corporate culture and the impact of the initial Bell report.

Following the start of the inquiry, Star has reported multiple high-level personnel changes. Robbie Cooke resigned last month from his roles as group CEO and managing director, and Christina Katsibouba is also stepping down as chief financial officer.

Cooke became the company’s fourth CEO within a year when he took over in November 2022, following the resignation of Matt Bekier during The Star’s New South Wales investigation, and the tenures of John O’Neill and Geoff Hogg.

Katsibouba is departing to seek opportunities outside the company, and Neale O’Connell, former CFO of Tatts Group, will assume her role temporarily.

Additionally, this month it was announced that Jessica Mellor will step down as CEO of Star Gold Coast by 24 May. Having led Star Gold Coast since October last year, Mellor was the youngest and first female CEO after four and a half years as Star’s chief operating officer.

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