Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in the company’s opening words on Tuesday morning that they have transformed completely since allegations surfaced in the Wall Street Journal 14 months ago, and he pledged that the company will lead in the area of human resources.
After opening statements by the Commission and investigators – as well as a round of introductions – Maddox was invited to make a statement for the company.
In resolute terms that hearkened to the May 2018 MGC meeting where he was questioned by Commissioners on Steve Wynn, Maddox took on a tone of sorrow for what had happened and pledged to never let anything like that happen again.
“As…investigations began, the denial changed, and I began to realize that there were many victims – and those victims felt powerless,” he said. “For that I am deeply remorseful. They felt that they didn’t have a voice. That if they were to speak up they could be retaliated against. Or if they did, it would not be investigated. For that I am truly sorry. I am sorry that our company did not live up to its values. And when I started to realize that truth, I took it very personally. And decided that no matter who the CEO is of Wynn Resorts, or who the Chairman is, that would never happen again.
We were going transform ourselves from a founder-led company that was about a man into a progressive company that’s about the 25,000 people. We weren’t just going to get to best practices – we were going to lead.”
Maddox detailed that after the article in January 2018, the company was shaken to its core, primarily because it was a company that was centered around its founder, Steve Wynn. With their founder on the ropes, he said that investors began appearing that wanted to break up the company, and activist investors “were swirling.”
He said when he took over, he knew the truth had to come out.
“We had 75,000 people worried about what their future was going to be,” he said. “I knew when I took over on February 7, 2018 that we had to be strong, be fast and get to the truth. Only the truth was going to let this company survive and thrive. We had to be transparent, cooperative and progressive.”
Maddox then launched into a statement on what the company has done in the last 14 months, particularly the fact that they have brought on a new, much more diverse Board of Directors. He also stressed that they have separated the job of CEO of the Chairman of the Board. Steve Wynn had served as the CEO and Chair of the Board.
That, he said, is no longer possible under their new corporate policies.
“We were going to have fully independent compliance committees, a totally refreshed Board of Directors, a new management team, and indirect and direct reporting, so there would never be another opportunity for someone to feel like they did not have a voice,” he said. “That was my commitment to this Company. And that is the journey we have been on for the last 14 months – this transformation from a company that was about a man into a company that has values; that what we stand for is the 25,000 people of Wynn Resorts.”
He said the changes have also made their company has also transformed into one that concentrates on giving to the community rather than focusing on its bottom line.
“Because the days of a company focused on its bottom line to measure success are yesterday,” he said. “A company needs to be viewed as a net giver in the communities in which it operates, not a net taker.”