The cracks inside Wynn Resorts Ltd. board continued to widen after a majority of its members rejected the nomination of former Harrah’s Chief Executive Phil Satre as the company’s new chairman.
The New York Post reported that the tensions between Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder in Wynn Resorts Ltd, and other members of the casino operator’s board ignited after the directors rejected Satre’s bid for either the chairman or vice-chairman roles.
Elaine reportedly backed Satre for the top two positions in Wynn Board, arguing that the ex-Harrah’s executive was “extremely well-qualified” and that he served “on the boards of at least six public companies, including as chairman of the board of three public companies, and has extensive credibility with gaming industry regulators.”
She promised full support to the Wynn board for the next two years if Satre was chosen as the company’s chairman, according to Wynn Resorts.
“In an effort to resolve differences between the Company and herself, Ms. Wynn had offered to sign a multi-year standstill in exchange for the Candidate’s [Satre] appointment as Chairman. Further, the Candidate was told that he had been suggested as a director candidate by both a current director and a former director even before Ms. Wynn had suggested the Candidate’s name,” the company said in a regulatory filing on Monday.
However, a majority of Wynn board members rejected Satre’s nomination saying that they don’t want to bring in an outsider regardless of his qualifications. In fact, most board members were rooting for new board member Betsy Atkins to be the next chairman.
Atkins, who has been eyeing the top post at Wynn, was instrumental in blocking Satre’s nomination, an unnamed source told the news outlet.
The nomination results didn’t sit well with Elaine, who had been trying to reshape the company board since her ex-husband, longtime Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn, resigned in February 2018 due to sexual harassment allegations.
Elaine, who holds 8.8 percent of the gaming company’s stock worth $1.5 billion, reiterated her request for Wynn’s board to hold annual elections. She also brought up the $9.5 million severance pay of Wynn’s outgoing general counsel Kim Sinatra.
Satre reportedly rejected his nomination for a Wynn board seat without providing an explanation.