James Packer has given up his role as chairman at Crown Resorts so he can dedicate more time to the group’s global expansion.
Investment banker Robert Rankin will takeover the chairman’s role at Crown, while Mr Packer will be appointed senior executive director.
Mr Packer, who is Crown’s largest shareholder, said he would devote his time in his new role to developing the casino group’s pipeline of resorts around the world.
“Crown remains my number one business priority and passion,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
Mr Packer said he would work on driving Crown’s joint businesses in Asia and its planned resort in Las Vegas, as well as developing its online operations.
He said he was deeply committed to Crown’s planned six-star resort at Barangaroo in Sydney.
“No project is more important to me,” he said.
The announcement came as Crown reported a slide in annual profits.
Net profit fell 41.3 per cent to $385.047 million in the year to June 30 while revenues rose 12.6 per cent to $3.5 billion.
On a normalised basis, which strips out the effects of VIP high rollers, the pre-opening costs from Melco Crown and asset impairments, net profit fell 17.9 per cent to $525.5 million.
Crown’s bottom line was also impacted by $61.3 million worth of significant items relating primarily to its investment in Cannery.
Chief executive Rowen Craigie said Crown’s businesses had a mixed performance during 2014/15.
Normalised earnings from Crown’s Australian casinos rose 14.1 per cent to $916.5 million, with solid growth at Crown Melbourne offsetting subdued growth at Crown Perth.
However contributions from Melco Crown Entertainment, the Macau-based business in which Crown owns a 34.3 per cent stake, fell.
Crown’s share of MCE’s normalised net profit dropped 44.6 per cent to $161.3 million.
Overall gross gaming revenue across the Macau market declined 26.8 per cent during the year.