Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) founder Steve Wynn stepped down as chief executive officer and chairman after reports that the casino magnate had engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment.
The board said in a statement issued in the U.S. late Tuesday it has appointed Matt Maddox, currently president, as its CEO, effective immediately.
“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” Wynn said in the 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 has been embroiled in controversy after the Wall Street Journal published a report Jan. 26 that alleged he pressured employees for sex and paid $7.5 million to settle claims brought by a former manicurist at his Las Vegas resort. The report contained numerous other allegations of harassment and coercion by other women. Wynn, 76, has denied any wrongdoing.
The fallout from the claims has reverberated from Macau to Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts shares have lost 19% since the allegations surfaced. Regulators in Nevada, Massachusetts and Macau are reviewing the claims, and Wynn Resorts’ board has launched its own investigation. Macau regulators talked with Wynn Macau management last week to make sure major shareholders, directors and key employees meet suitable qualifications.