Elaine Wynn has lost her bid to regain her seat on casino operator Wynn Resorts board of directors.
Wynn Resorts held its annual meeting of stockholders in Las Vegas on Friday, where the makeup of the board of directors was put to a vote. The board’s director nominees John Hangenbuch and Edward Virtue were re-elected while Elaine failed to garner the necessary support.
The 72-year-old Elaine was unceremoniously turfed from Wynn’s board in March. Undaunted, Elaine nominated herself for re-election based on her contention that she had helped build the company into a global player. Elaine also claimed the Wynn board lacked diversity and that she was the only member who could talk plainly to chairman/CEO Steve Wynn, to whom she was twice married and divorced.
Wynn Resorts countered Elaine’s claims by accusing her of passing $10m of her Wynn shares – she holds a 9.4% stake in the company – to her charitable foundation to sell during a blackout period. The board also diminished her contributions to Wynn’s growth, saying her efforts were “more appropriately matters to be handled by the company’s highly trained and professional staff.”
Steve had recused himself from the brouhaha, saying he was in “an impossibly embarrassing situation” of either supporting his ex-wife or supporting his fellow board members. The pair’s 2010 divorce settlement split their Wynn shares down the middle but Elaine sued Steve in 2012 to break a covenant that prevented her from selling her shares without his approval.
Following the vote, Wynn Resorts issued a statement thanking Elaine for her previous service. In a nod to Elaine’s cracks about the board being a bunch of old white dudes, the company said it planned to expand the board with “one or more qualified, diverse and independent directors by the end of 2015.”
Elaine released her own statement, expressing her disappointment but claiming that “this proxy contest was a success in that it brought to light critical corporate governance concerns at Wynn Resorts, such as independence, expertise and diversity in the boardroom and the impact they have on key issues that our company is facing including compensation practices and succession planning.”
Elaine added a defiant note, questioning whether the board “will deliver on the commitments they have made to greater independence, diversity and oversight of management. I, however, as the third-largest stockholder, remain committed to holding all accountable, and will now do so from a position of greater strength.”
Wynn Resorts will release its Q1 report card after the market closes on Tuesday, April 28.