Elaine Wynn loses—and there’s more to come
Elaine Wynn has lost her battle to stay on the board of Wynn Resorts.
The ex-wife of chairman/CEO Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts’ third-largest shareholder failed to win enough shareholder votes Friday morning at the company’s annual meeting. After the board decided in March not to re-nominate her after she had served 13 years as a director, Wynn, 72, mounted an ambitious campaign to woo investors to her side. Despite her considerable charms, her 9.4% stake, and her strong argument—she co-founded and helped build Wynn Resorts (WYNN) into a company worth $13 billion and was its only female board member—she couldn’t convince enough people to let her stay on.
Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts announced that according to a preliminary vote count, management’s two picks, John J. Hagenbuch and J. Edward Virtue, were elected instead of Wynn.
Given her remarkable track record and her undying ambition, the leading lady billionaire of Las Vegas is surely not done—as she hinted when I interviewed her last week. Although Wynn declined to talk about her loss today, she released a statement saying that “this proxy contest was a success in that it brought to light critical corporate governance concerns at Wynn Resorts such as independence, expertise and diversity in the boardroom and the impact they have on key issues that our company is facing including compensation practices and succession planning.”
She added: “It remains to be seen if the directors of this company will deliver on the commitments they have made to greater independence, diversity and oversight of management. I, however, as the third-largest stockholder, remain committed to holding all accountable, and will now do so from a position of greater strength.”
Indeed, Wynn is still ready to fight for what she believes in, even if it’s no longer from within the boardroom.