Star’s New CEO Robbie Cooke Places Strong Emphasis on Making Cultural Shift
- Robbie Cooke will begin his job as Star’s new managing director and CEO on Oct 17
- Changing Star’s culture and ensuring compliance are among Cooke’s top priorities
- Star Entertainment’s reputation has been tarnished over multiple regulatory breaches
Star Entertainment Group will officially come under new leadership on October 17, 2022, as Robbie Cooke takes on his role as the company’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive. The former Tyro Payments CEO was appointed by Star in June to replace Matt Bekier who resigned after the company was hit with a massive money laundering scandal and other regulatory breaches in Australia.
Cooke has a huge task in front of him, especially in terms of making a “cultural shift” within Star which he said will be his top priority as he begins his job on Monday.
Cooke Expresses Commitment to Rehabilitate Star
Cooke, who has several years of experience in the gambling and travel industries being at the helm of Tatts Group and Wotif.com for a long time, acknowledged that Star had failed and lost its way in numerous aspects, but he is committed to rehabilitating the embattled company, restoring its suitability, and rebuilding trust in the group. One way to do that is to ensure the company remains fully compliant with the law, Cooke said.
Star Entertainment has been the subject of two inquiries conducted in Queensland and New South Wales, both of which uncovered serious failings by the company in fulfilling their anti-money laundering, responsible gambling, and counter-terrorism financing obligations. The Bell and the Gotterson reviews ultimately found Star unfit to run its Sydney casino as well as its two casinos in Queensland – The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane.
Cooke said the revelations arising from both investigations were “confronting“, but he also appreciates Star for respecting and accepting the findings and showing willingness “to do what it takes to rehabilitate“. Among the important steps the company has taken so far to make things right is installing an independent monitor to oversee its Sydney casino operations.
Changes Won’t Happen Overnight
Cooke admits the job at hand is a tough one that would take years to complete, but he felt he fits the role given his strong background in the gambling, hospitality, and banking sectors. He said the issues surrounding Star are deeply rooted in “bad culture” and fixing that won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
Making sure there’s a safe environment for people to call out wrong behavior and demonstrating that there’s prompt action when issues arise will play a crucial role in making that huge cultural shift is what Cookie is looking to make happen in the near future.