Steve Wynn has stepped down as the CEO of Wynn Resorts after allegations of sexual misconduct piled pressure on the billionaire casino mogul and sent the company’s stock tumbling.
“It is with a collective heavy heart, that the board of directors of Wynn Resorts today accepted the resignation of our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” one of the directors, Boone Wayson, said in a company statement late Tuesday.
Wynn, 76, has denied the accusations of misconduct, which gained widespread attention in late January after an investigative report by The Wall Street Journal detailed numerous allegations against him, citing dozens of sources.
“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” Wynn said in a statement. “As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”
Wynn Resorts said it has appointed Matt Maddox, who currently serves as the company’s president, as its new CEO effective immediately. Wayson will take over as chairman.
Losing Wynn is a heavy blow for the global gambling empire he built and that bears his name.
He said he was stepping down from “a company I founded and that I love.”
Analysts have expressed concern about how Wynn’s businesses in Las Vegas and the Chinese territory of Macau would operate without him at the helm.
“Mr. Wynn is the Wynn,” analysts at investment firm Bernstein wrote in a note to clients last month. “Without him, the Wynn Resorts … is a different operation.”
But the allegations against him made his position increasingly untenable.
He already resigned as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee shortly after the Journal story came out. And the Wynn Resorts board formed a special committee to investigate the allegations.
The accusations against him have also drawn scrutiny from gambling regulators in Nevada, Massachusetts, and Macau.
The Chinese territory is particularly significant for Wynn Resorts, accounting for the large majority of its revenue and profits.
Investors have become increasingly concerned about the situation, driving down the company’s stock.