The Star Gold Coast CEO resigns after just six months in the role

The Star Gold Coast CEO resigns after just six months in the role

Outgoing The Star Gold Coast CEO Jess Mellor.

The exodus of The Star Entertainment Group's (ASX: SGR) new breed of leadership continues with the CEO of the company's Gold Coast casino and resort, Jessica Mellor, tendering her resignation after just six months in the position.

The announcement comes amidst the second Bell Inquiry to determine the company's suitability to hold a casino licence, in which senior staff members have described an experience of at times feeling "undermined or excluded" by "dysfunctional" leadership.

Former legal officer Betty Ivanoff, whose resignation was announced after six months in the job in December, told the inquiry this week that from a transparency perspective she "wasn’t really getting the fullest picture".

Former chief financial officer Christina Katsibouba, who informed the casino group's state-appointed special manager Nicholas Weeks in December that she intended to leave and formally did so alongside former CEO Robbie Cooke in March, told the inquiry the leadership team had been "dysfunctional for some time” and that she had lost “faith and confidence in the integrity of the CEO”.

Like Katsibouba, Mellor has been with The Star since before the original Bell Inquiry and was propelled into the senior leadership in its aftermath.

At the age of 33, she became the group's youngest-ever female general manager and chief operating officer at The Star Gold Coast, having previously worked at Aquis Entertainment where she had helped turn around the fortunes of Casino Canberra from being a loss-making operation to EBITDA profit.

After just over four-and-a-half years in that position, she was then promoted to CEO of The Star Gold Coast in October last year.

Today's announcement to the ASX did not provide any explanation as to why Mellor was leaving the company, but that her resignation would be effective from 24 May 2024, and she would be replaced by the operations' general manager gaming Ian Brown in an acting CEO capacity, subject to regulatory approvals.

The group stated that in her term as COO and CEO of The Gold Coast, Mellor had been instrumental in developing The Star Gold Coast as an iconic Gold Coast tourism and entertainment precinct, including the development of the $2 billion masterplan as part of a joint venture consortium.

"Jessica has led The Star Gold Coast through some challenging times including through COVID and has been instrumental in developing the Gold Coast property into an iconic world-class integrated destination resort with our joint venture partners," said executive chair David Foster.

"Jessica has decided the time is right to move on and she leaves with both the Board’s and my personal thanks, for her tireless efforts as CEO of The Star Gold Coast."

The group has now started a search for a new CEO of The Star Gold Coast.

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