AMERICAN ACE TO LEAVE ECHO

AMERICAN ACE TO LEAVE ECHO

CASINO operator Echo Entertainment Group (ASX: EGP) surprised the industry today by announcing its managing director and chief executive Larry Mullin (pictured) will leave the company in January.

The American has been with EGP for less than two years and joins a growing list of high-profile exits from the casino group.

Mullin came to Australia with an impressive record of management at several prominent Atlantic City (New Jersey) casinos, including properties own by billionaire Donald Trump.

EGP, which operates three casinos in Queensland, including Jupiters Hotel and Casino in Broadbeach, advised today Mullin will finish with the company on January 31 after overseeing the completion of an $870 million renovation of The Star Casino in Sydney.

Jupiters theatre was given a $20 million revamp under Mullin and Project Icon, the revitalisation of the company’s Queensland casinos, is ongoing.

The announcement of Mullin’s departure comes just two days after the sudden resignation of long-standing director Brett Paton and about three months since chairman John Story’s controversial exit.

Echo chairman John O’Neill says Mullin provided energy and direction for the company.

“The Board unanimously thanks Mr Mullin for his leadership of the business,” says O’Neill.

“This has included the demerger of Echo from Tabcorp Holdings Limited, the redevelopment of the landmark casino and entertainment precinct around The Star in Sydney and the planned revitalisation of Echo’s casinos in Queensland.”

An international executive recruitment firm will undertake a global search for a new CEO.

The EGP board has been under pressure in recent times following a management scandal at The Star and the aggressive moves by James Packer’s Crown Limited and Malaysian-based Genting, which have bought up large stakes in the group.

Echo’s share price this morning has been static, recovering from an early loss to be around its opening price of $3.76.

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