Australia’s Star Entertainment hires Tyro head as CEO, shares rise

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FILE PHOTO: Sydney's Star Casino complex is seen illuminated at night

By Tejaswi Marthi

(Reuters) -Australia’s Star Entertainment appointed Tyro Payments head Robert Cooke as its chief executive on Wednesday, saying his experience in the financial services industry would help steer it through a period of intense regulatory scrutiny.

Shares of Star Entertainment, the country’s No.2 casino operator, climbed 2.4% to hit their highest in nearly three weeks after having fallen 28% so far this year, while Tyro plunged more than 20% to touch a record low of A$0.620.

Cooke’s appointment comes three months after Matt Bekier stepped down as Star Entertainment’s CEO in the wake of multiple inquiries over possible breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws at the company’s casinos.

“There are challenges for The Star that have been well documented. They will be my priority and focus,” Cooke said.

In a separate statement, Tyro said Cooke had served a six-month notice period, stating that he would step down as the payments terminal provider’s CEO.

Earlier this month, Queensland launched an investigation to review Star Entertainment’s suitability for a licence after an inquiry in neighbouring state New South Wales accused the casino operator of allowing breaches of anti-money laundering protocols at its Sydney resort.

(Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Subhranshu Sahu)