Star Entertainment CEO Set to Start New Position

Australian gambling operator Star Entertainment Group took swift action following its plunge into trouble, bringing on industry specialist Robert Cooke as CEO, with the former Tyro Payments executive being tipped to revive the company’s fortunes.

Queensland state issued regulatory approval to his appointment when it was first announced in June, although the group are still waiting for New South Wales (where it has two land-based properties) to confirm.

Having replaced interim CEO Geoff Hogg, Cooke no doubt has a task on his hand, and it is likely he already has a plan to hit the ground running. With a background in the gaming technology sector of the industry as well as the operations side, it was understood that this made him the ideal candidate to take over the post.

Major Pedigree Set to Make an Impact

Cooke arrives at Star Entertainment Group with an impressive track record throughout his career that can definitely be of great value.

His experience in C-level roles within both the gambling and banking industries means that he is well-equipped to be able to haul the group out of its troubles. In his previous position as managing director, which he took up at Tyro Payments in 2018, he successfully led the company to a public listing. However, this was not the first time.

In 2006, he drove to an ASX listing, having helped to grow the company considerably throughout his seven years as managing director, being responsible for a number of acquisitions as well for the travel company.

Perhaps his most notable achievement, which is more relatable to his new role, was the five years that he spent at the gambling company Tatts Group, where he led structural changes, culminating in the firm’s merger with Tabcorp.

Star Entertainment Group Focused on Emerging from Troubles

Just over a year ago (September 2021), the Bergin inquiry that investigated The Crown Sydney resulted in the Adam Bell SC review. This activity then led to a subsequent inquiry by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA), which ultimately found cause to strip The Crown Sydney of its licence in New South Wales.

This also happened in Queensland via the Gotterson inquiry, which meant that it had to close its casinos in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

In both instances, the group was found to have been in breach of a series of regulatory requirements, including suspicions of money laundering.

Cooke certainly has a hard task ahead of him to rebuild the group’s reputation, though, with a new executive committee, there are already encouraging signs that this can result in a slow turnaround. Given Cooke’s track record, this is a definite possibility.

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