US casino mogul steps down amid sexual harassment claims

Las Vegas: American casino mogul Steve Wynn has stepped down as the CEO of Wynn Resorts after allegations of sexual misconduct piled pressure on the billionaire and sent the company’s stock tumbling, the media reported.

“It is with a collective heavy heart, that the board of directors of Wynn Resorts today accepted the resignation of our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” one of the directors, Boone Wayson, said in a company statement late Tuesday.

“Steve Wynn is an industry giant. He is a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. He played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today.”

Wynn, 76, has denied the accusations of misconduct, which drew widespread attention last month after an investigative report by The Wall Street Journal detailed numerous allegations against him, reports CNN.

The investigation published late last month, found that Wynn had harassed female employees for decades and coerced them to have sex.

Among other things, he was accused of demanding that women pleasure him or massage him naked.

In at least one case, he paid a multimillion-dollar settlement, according to the investigation.

In a statement, the business mogul said: “In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity.

“As I have reflected upon the environment this has created – one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts – I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”

He said he was stepping down from “a company I founded and that I love”, CNN reported.

Wynn Resorts said it has appointed Matt Maddox, who has been president of Wynn Resorts since 2013, as its new CEO effective immediately. Wayson will take over as chairman.

Following the investigation, Wynn, a major Republican donor, had also stepped down as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, reports The New York Times.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission promised an investigation, as Wynn is building a multi-billion dollar casino and resort outside Boston.

On February 1, the University of Pennsylvania revoked his honourary degree and removed his name from a campus plaza and scholarship.

Shortly after Wynn’s announced his resignation on Tuesday, trading on shares of Wynn Macau was halted in Hong Kong.

Wynn Resorts’ stock price had already tumbled in response to the misconduct allegations, from $200.60 on January 25 to $163.22 on Tuesday. Wynn is one of the company’s largest shareholders.