Billionaire James Packer, the son of the late Kerry Packer played a key role in transitioning the family business from one that focused on broadcasting and publishing to Crown Resorts, a multi-billion dollar casino empire that has casinos in Australia, Asia and the new Alon Las Vegas, under construction in Las Vegas, Nevada. On the 21st of December 2015, Packer announced that he was stepping down from Crown Resorts is board of directors.
Four months ago Packer stepped down as the chairman of Crown Resorts and handed over the responsibilities to his trusted aide Rob Rankin in August 2015. The Australian billionaire believes that this is the right time for him to distance himself from the responsibilities that he has had to shoulder in the past as Rankin is doing a great job as the new chairman.
Packer currently shuttles between Tel Aviv, Israel and Los Angeles where his family is based. He spent a total of 1200 hours flying this year and wants to cut down his travel and focus on a number of other projects, including tech start-ups that are looking to launch in Israel.
In a statement, Packer said “I have taken this decision over several months following the smooth transition by Rob Rankin into the company chairman’s role and the stable and cohesive functioning of the board and the senior management team during the period that I have transitioned overseas. Now is the right time for me to focus my endeavours on my new role with Crown, as I outlined to shareholders when I stepped aside as chairman in August”.
Packer owns a 53 percent stake in Crown Resorts and will continue to play a critical part in the direction of the company as he is still the majority shareholder. Crown Resorts has a number of key projects in the pipeline including the ‘Alon Casino’ in Las Vegas, which is the first casino that Crown Resorts will be building in the United States and the Barangaroo Casino in Sydney Australia which is expected to open in 2020.
Packer will pay special attention to the Barangaroo casino as he would like to pay tribute to his father, the late Kerry Packer who had tried in the 1990s to open a casino in Sydney but lost the bid to a rival company.
Rankin also went on record to clarify that Packer stepping down from the board does not put an end to the relationship but was just an internal transition as Packer is still expected to be actively involved in the decision making process and could return to the board at a future date should he desire to make the move.