James Packer Steps Down as Director of Crown Resorts

The Australian billionaire media and casino mogul James Packer has stepped down from the board of Crown Resorts. The company revealed the move in a brief statement posted today on its website, saying that Packer is leaving his role of director “for personal reasons”.

The Executive Chairman of Crown Resorts – John Alexander – confirmed that the director’s position is to be left vacant by Mr. Packer. In a statement issued by Consolidated Press Holdings, the private investment company of James Packer, a spokesman of the company revealed that the Australian billionaire was suffering from mental health issues due to which he planned to step back from all commitments.

No further details on the health issues experienced by Mr. Packer were given by the company. He is believed to be in the US when he is getting professional help to deal with depression and anxiety. This is not the first time when the casino mogul has faced the effects of depression on his health. Back in the early 2000s, he revealed he decided to step out of public attention as he was dealing with a breakdown after the One-Tel collapse. The businessman is also known for the mental health issues he faced after he parted ways with Jodi Meares, his first wife, and also during the difficulties faced by his business during the global financial crisis.

The effects of the Australian billionaire’s resignation on the company’s performance are yet to be revealed, but Crown Resort’s shares already suffered a decline, reaching their lowest price in about a month after the announcement of his departure was made.

Packer and Crown Resorts Facing a Hard Time

The resignation of Mr. Packer comes at a time when the casino mogul has been associated with a corruption scandal involving the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. The latter has been investigated for receiving extremely expensive gifts from a number of businessmen, including Crown Resort’s owner. Despite the fact that no wrongdoing of Mr. Packer’s part was ever suggested, the Australian businessman was among the ones mentioned in the case.

Crown Resort’s director departure came unexpectedly, as the company being ranked as the seventh-largest listed casino operator worldwide is trying to offset the negative impact which the 2016 staff arrest in China had on its reputation.

The 50-year-old businessman first left the board of the company back in 2015, and then rejoined Crown Resort’s management, at the time when the operator was facing the staff arrest crisis.

Last year, a total of 19 Crown employees were taken into custody by Chinese authorities in Shanghai and faced allegations for gambling promotions aimed at attracting local high-rollers. The staff arrests hurt the ability of the company to attract such players to its Australian casinos, which on the other hand made Crown Resorts to reconsider its long-planned expansion into the Asian gambling hub Macau and focus on its Australian assets.

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