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Star Entertainment appoints Foster to replace Heap as chairman

| By Robert Fletcher
Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has announced the appointment of David Foster as its new chairman, replacing the outgoing Ben Heap.

Foster was appointed to the Star board as a non-executive director in August last year having spent more than 25 years working in the financial services sector, including over five years as chief executive of Suncorp Bank.

Subject to necessary regulatory approvals, Foster will take on his new role from 31 March.

Foster will replace Heap, who only took on the position of chairman in June last year after a spell as interim chairman following the exit of Matt Bekier as managing director and CEO.

However, Star announced in December that Heap would step down after he was named among a number of current and former directors and former executives who will face civil proceedings from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The cases relate to section 180(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), which references the requirement for a company officeholder to “exercise their powers and discharge their duties with care and diligence”.

This, ASIC said, was also in relation to findings from investigations into Star’s activities in New South Wales and Queensland, two states in which Star has recently been deemed unsuitable to hold a casino operator licence and subsequently had its licences suspended.

“I would like to express my appreciation to the board and management for their continued support during my tenure as chairman,” Heap said. “I have every confidence The Star will be a powerhouse of the Australian tourism and entertainment sectors for decades to come, employing thousands of people across stunning locations in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”

Foster added: “Ben has played a pivotal role over what has been a challenging period for The Star. He provided leadership and stability at a critical time, which included overseeing the appointment of our new CEO, renewal of the board and a re-set of the balance sheet.

“These were important and fundamental steps that have now been completed as the company rebuilds towards an exciting new era. I am delighted to assume the role of chairman as we continue with an unwavering focus on earning back the trust of the community.”

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