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Amey stepping down as chief financial officer of SkyCity

| By Robert Fletcher
Julie Amey has resigned from her position as chief financial officer (CFO) of Australasian casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group.
SkyCity CEO Walbridge

Amey will continue as CFO at SkyCity for a further six months, officially stepping down on 25 September. She has served in the role for just under three years.

The position at SkyCity is Amey’s first in the gambling industry, having joined SkyCity in May 2021.

Prior to this, she worked in the oil and gas sector, primarily within the Shell group. She was serving as vice-president of finance for Shell Development Australia before joining SkyCity.

She also held the same role at Qatar Shell and spent time as CFO of Shell & Turcas Petrol. In addition, she had a spell as business finance manager for the Middle East and North Africa at Shell.

SkyCity did not disclose why Amey is resigning from the role.

“Julie has been responsible for the financial management of SkyCity and overseen the business’ capital markets and internal assurance functions through a very complex and demanding period,” SkyCity interim CEO Callum Mallet said.

“She has worked tirelessly and been a valued member of the senior leadership team since she joined.”

SkyCity chair Julian Cook added: “We wish Julie the very best for her future endeavours.”

Another senior management departure 

Amey is the latest departure from the SkyCity senior management team, with several other moves having been announced in recent times.

In October, SkyCity announced Michael Ahearne is to step down from his role as chief executive. Ahearne officially exited the business this month, with Mallet taking temporary charge while the operator seeks a permanent replacement. 

Mallet was previously chief operating officer for New Zealand, with SkyCity appointing Brad Burnett to replace Mallet on an interim basis. Burnett was previously general manager for table games at its Auckland site.

More recently, SkyCity last week named Andrew McPherson as chief information officer on a full-time basis. He had been serving in the role on an interim basis since November. 

Civil penalty proceedings launch against SkyCity

The changes in senior management come at an uncertain time for SkyCity. Last month, New Zealand’s department of internal affairs said it will file civil penalty proceedings in the high court against the operator and SkyCity Casino Management (SCML) subsidiary.

This relates to SCML’s alleged non-compliance with New Zealand’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009. Should the claim be accepted – in whole or partly – SCML could be ordered to pay a penalty of up to NZ$8.0m (£3.8m/€4.4m/US$4.8m).

Draft pleadings set out five causes of action seen as “significant” compliance issues related to the Act. SkyCity said these issues mainly refer to historical matters, some of which were previously self-reported to the department

SCML holds the licence for operating SkyCity land-based casinos in Auckland, Hamilton and Queensland. SkyCity says it will work with the department to rectify any issues.

What else is happening at SkyCity?

This is not the only concern for the operator, with SkyCity also facing regulatory concerns in Australia.

At the end of 2022, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre launched federal proceedings against SkyCity over anti-money laundering failings at SkyCity Adelaide.

SkyCity in May 2023 launched a review into its counter-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering programmes. In August, it also made a provision of AU$45m ahead of an assumed civil penalty from Austrac. 

Last year  ended with SkyCity warning adjusted EBITDA could fall in its 2024 financial year, despite previously saying it expected an increase.

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