Wynn Resorts hints at rebranding after Steve Wynn allegations


wynn-resorts-steve-wynn-rebrandingCasino operator Wynn Resorts says former boss Steve Wynn won’t be getting a nine-figure golden handshake after resigning due to sexual harassment allegations.

On Friday, Wynn Resorts announced that it had reached a separation agreement with its former CEO and chairman, who resigned last week following mounting allegations of a decades-long pattern of sexual harassment against Wynn Resorts’ female employees.

Speculation had it that Steve was in for a payout of up to $330m for the early termination of his contract, which extended through 2022. But the company now says its separation agreement means Steve “is not entitled to any severance payment or other compensation from the Company under the employment agreement.”

Furthermore, Steve will have to vacate his swanky penthouse at the Wynn Las Vegas no later than June 1 while his company health care coverage will terminate by year’s end. Steve has also agreed to a two-year non-compete clause and to assist the company “in connection with any private litigation or arbitration” that may arise from the investigations into his alleged bad behavior.

Last week, Steve agreed to conduct the potential sale of his nearly 12% stake in Wynn Resorts “in an orderly fashion.” On Friday, the company said it had agreed to enter into a registration rights agreement with Steve that will prevent him from selling more than one-third of his Wynn Resorts shares in any single quarter.

The company also offered the first suggestion that it may be considering rebranding its operations under a slightly less tainted name. The separation agreement includes a clause indicating that the company will provide Steve with written notice “in the event that the Company ceases to use the WYNN name and trademark.’

Steve, who has vehemently denied the allegations made against him, was replaced as CEO last week by Wynn president Matt Maddox, while director Boone Wayson was named non-executive chairman.

Steve remains under investigation via an internal probe being overseen by the Wynn board of directors. The company dismissed an outside law firm last week that had been tasked with conducting an external probe, while hiring a new firm – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP – this week to handle the internal probe.

The company is also being probed by regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts regarding what the board knew of the allegations, when they knew it, and why they didn’t mention it during suitability hearings.