Donaco hands out board promotions after house-cleaning

Donaco International Ltd has spent the past couple of months shuffling around its board of directors and top brass.  The Australia-listed casino company saw General Counsel Ben Reichel announce that he would step away from the board room at the beginning of December, just days before David Green and Yugo Kinoshita also departed.  Next to go was CEO Paul Arbuckle, right on the heels of these previous exits.  Donaco is now in the rebuilding phase, first bringing onboard new non-executive board members Mel Ashton and Simon Vertullo, and, now promoting two members of the board to executive members.donaco-hands-out-board-promotions-after-house-cleaning

Leo Chan and Kurkye Wong are part of Argyle Street Management Ltd (ASM), which purchased a 19.25% stake in Donaco in July of last year through its subsidiary, On Nut Road Ltd.  Both Chan and Wong were added to the board, in non-executive roles, just after that purchase was consummated and despite Donaco’s initial determination that the amount of the stake was only good for one spot on the board.

The appointments come with some nice perks.  According to a filing (in pdf) with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Donaco indicates that the two will be involved in “legal, operational and financial matters,” and adds, “Each of Mr Chan and Mr Wong has signed an employment contract, and will be paid a salary of AUD200,000 [US$134,200], which incorporates their existing fees in their current roles as Directors.  The Contracts can be terminated either by the Executive Director or the Company on six months’ notice, except in the case of serious misconduct.  The Executive Directors will be based in Hong Kong, and the contracts are governed by Hong Kong law.”

The two newly appointed Donaco executives are on the board of ASM, as well.   Chan is an executive director at the company and comes with a solid background extending back over 13 years in the Asian investment market.  Wong is ASM’s VP and also has a strong background in investing in finance.

Both can thank Joey Lim for getting where they are today.  The Donaco founder and former CEO didn’t do a good job of managing the books, ultimately defaulting on a loan offered by Orchard Capital Partners.  That allowed Orchard to step in and purchase his 27.25% stake, which was then sold to ASM.

Things are finally beginning to turn around for the casino operator.  Revenue was less than stellar last year, but 2020 is bringing about a lot of positive changes, including a possible resolution to an ongoing legal battle across several fronts, and the new board and hierarchy structures should help bring new life into the company.