Lisa Cheban | 03 April, 2023 15:17 | Last update on: 03 April, 2023 15:17
Star Entertainment Group, an Australian casino company, has named David Foster its new chairman. This is after a period of regulatory and financial issues that arose due to two state casino inquiries. The gaming giant got all the necessary approvals to make the appointment, and Foster will take over from Ben Heap at the end of the month.
While announcing the appointment of Foster, Heap said, “I would like to express my appreciation to the board and management for their continued support during my tenure as chairman. I have every confidence The Star will be a powerhouse of the Australian tourism and entertainment sectors for decades to come.”
Heap stated that Foster’s appointment marked a new chapter for the firm, which underwent a public inquiry and a board reorganization following an investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and 60 Minutes in 2021. The investigations uncovered extensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism flaws.
Stephen Foster is the ex-CEO of Suncorp Bank and the ASX-listed G8 Education. In addition, Foster is a former member of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank boards. His presence in The Star as an observer board member was announced in August and was subject to regulatory approval.
In December, Heap declared his decision to leave The Star Entertainment Group, which was concurrent with the announcement by ASIC that 11 current and former personnel at the company would be prosecuted for not overseeing money laundering procedures at the operator’s casino properties.
John O’Neill, the company’s former chairman, and Matt Bekier, ex-CEO, were listed in the 164-page statement for investigations. Other mentioned board members include Richard Sheppard, Katie Lahey, Gerard Bradley, Sally Pitkin, and Zlatko Todorcevski. Heap, the current chairman, was also on the list.
Back then, Heap declared his intention to contest the ASIC claims. He felt staying with the company would be a distraction beyond the transition period, calling for remediation to be the primary concern. Heap is the only executive or director still with the company and will leave at the month’s end.
As expected, Foster wasted no time expressing his gratitude to Heap for his service during this difficult period. He commended Heap for providing a sense of stability during a challenging period, which saw recruiting a new chief executive, restructuring the board, and resetting the company’s balance sheet.
“These were important and fundamental steps that have now been completed as the company rebuilds towards an exciting new era. I’m delighted to assume the role of chairman as we continue with an unwavering focus on earning back the trust of the community,” Foster remarked.