Wynn Executives Can't Talk to Ex-CEO Without Telling Lawyer
(Bloomberg) -- Among the new polices that Wynn Resorts Ltd. has adopted since the departure of Chief Executive Officer Steve Wynn in February: Management and the board are required to notify a company attorney within 48 hours if they have any communication with him.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission made note of the new policy Monday in a decision explaining why the agency would no longer keep Steve Wynn’s name on the company’s casino license in the state.
Wynn, who co-founded the casino giant 16 years ago, resigned amid a swirl of accusations of sexual harassment. Since then, regulators in Massachusetts, Nevada and Macau have continued to investigate the claims. Both the company and Wynn himself had requested that his name be removed from the casino license, aiming to prevent the scandal from sidetracking the process.
Wynn Resorts, which is building a $2.5 billion casino just outside Boston, has taken other steps to distance itself from its founder. The new casino won’t bear his name, and Wynn has left the villa he rented from the company in Las Vegas. He also sold all his shares.
Because Wynn was still a shareholder on the day of record for voting at the annual meeting, his removal from the Massachusetts license is contingent on him not voting those shares at the May 16 gathering.
Other attempts to scrub Wynn’s imprint from the company are still underway. Steve’s ex-wife, Elaine, has vowed to remove longtime directors from the board -- including John Hagenbuch, who she describes as a friend of Steve’s.
She’s garnered support from two proxy advisory firms in the past week: Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co. have both recommended shareholders vote against Hagenbuch.
In response to the ISS report, Wynn Resorts said it appreciated the firm acknowledging the board’s “swift and decisive actions” over the past three months. Still, the recommendation that shareholders not vote for Hagenbuch would place “symbolism ahead of pragmatism,” the company said. It also also said that Elaine Wynn might be motivated by “personal animosity.”
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