Crown Resorts Limited, Australia, has announced that billionaire James Packer, Crown’s largest shareholder, has stepped down as Chairman. Mr. Packer will assume a more global, hands-on roll as senior executive director, and remain co-chairman of Melco Crown Entertainment focused in Asia as well as the Alon Resort project in Las Vegas. He also plans to bolster Crown’s online efforts for future growth.

Advancing into the role of Crown’s Chairman of the Board is Robert Rankin. For the better part of the past year, Mr. Rankin has been chief executive of Mr. Packer’s personal investment company, Consolidated Press Holdings, which owns a majority share in Crown Resorts Ltd. He was formerly a chief executive with Deutsche Bank AG, overseeing the banks’ Asia Pacific operations.

In a Crown media release, Packer states, “Rob Rankin has my complete trust and respect as an executive and he will do an outstanding job as Chairman. Given our global growth and aspirations, this is the right time for the company to make this change. I look forward to working closely with him.”

Additionally, Bloomberg reports that Crown and Packer reached an agreement: Packer will sell a 50% stake in his rural Ellerston property north of Sydney, a 1,400 hectares (almost 3500 acres) retreat property Crown plans for it’s high-roller casino. The estate includes swimming pools, a golf course, and other attractions as well as exclusive accommodations.

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