Geoff Hogg takes over as Star’s third chief in three months

| By Richard Mulligan
Geoff Hogg begins his tenure as Star Entertainment Group’s acting chief executive today (1 June) following John O’Neill’s resignation.
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Hogg was appointed on an interim basis last week after interim executive chair O’Neill stepped down less than two months after assuming the position, and less than a week before he was due to give evidence to the review into The Star Sydney’s licence.

Hogg becomes Star’s third executive leader in just over two months following former chief executive and managing director Matt Bekier’s resignation in late March in connection with issues raised during the ongoing review.

Hogg will earn AUS$1m per annum on a pro rata basis in his new role, compared to the $700,760 salary he was previously paid as chief casino officer for Queensland. According to Star’s 2021 financial report, then chief executive Bekier was paid a salary of $1.9m.

The Star said today that it is continuing to conduct the search for a permanent chief executive that began when Bekier resigned in March. The Star said that either party may terminate Hogg’s arrangement at any time on one month’s notice.

O’Neill – who had been the operator’s chairman – was appointed executive chair on an interim basis on 1 April, following Bekier’s resignation.

Much of O’Neill’s term as chairman had been characterised by a review into Star’s business amid accusations that the operator knowingly worked with junkets that had ties to criminal groups and that its anti-money laundering measures were insufficient.

A number of Star staff members have given evidence in a review by the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority into Star’s licence, which covers many of these accusations. O’Neill was the last witness to give evidence, on 23 May.

The review of The Star Sydney began in June 2021, and focused on assessing whether The Star was eligible for an operating licence in New South Wales. Allegations raised at the hearings include senior managers employed at the Star Sydney casino purposely deceiving regulators over illegal cash transactions in a junket room and were aware these breached money laundering rules.

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