The CEO of New Zealand and Australian casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group has tendered his resignation.
Early Thursday, SkyCity announced that CEO and Managing Director Nigel Morrison (pictured) would be stepping down effective April 29. Chairman Chris Moller said SkyCity’s board and Morrison had been discussing a formal succession plan since September and all parties figured the timing was right to pull the trigger.
Despite having apparently spent the past seven months anticipating this day’s arrival, SkyCity has yet to identify Morrison’s permanent replacement. Instead, SkyCity’s board has appointed the company’s NZ COO John Mortensen as interim CEO while it searches for Morrison’s successor.
Moller said Mortensen had “a long pedigree in the entertainment industry, including in-depth experience in gaming operations and casino management, and has earned the respect of the Board in his position as COO NZ.”
Moller said Morrison had “done an excellent job” during his eight-year tenure, which had witnessed “unprecedented growth of SkyCity’s international business” as well as the extension of the company’s exclusive casino licenses in Auckland and Adelaide.
Morrison said he was “keen to take a break” from what he described as “an incredibly demanding job.” Morrison noted that it was a good time to leave, given the company was coming off “record revenues and profits and an eight-year record high share price.” SkyCity’s shares have risen 12% since the start of the year.
Morrison joined SkyCity in 2008 after a couple years as CFO of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group. Prior to that, he’d spent six years as CEO of Australia’s Federal Group, which operates two casinos in Tasmania.