Wynn Resorts CFO Steve Cootey leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost three years on the job
  • Thanks for Cootey
  • Craig Billings taking over

(management-change.com) — Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23, 2017 — Steve Cootey, finance chief of Wynn Resorts, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Wynn Resorts, Limited in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, February 23, 2017, Stephen (Steve) Cootey leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the developer and operator of high end hotels and casinos in a surprising move after almost three years on the job, effective March 01, 2017.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Cootey’s duties are taken over by Craig S. Billings, a former Chief Digital Officer at Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.

The fact that Cootey’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

In general, an outsider doesn’t have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

“To pursue other interests”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Wynn Resorts said: “On February 22, 2017, Stephen Cootey resigned from his position as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and Treasurer and as the Company’s principal accounting officer, effective March 1, 2017, to pursue other opportunities.”

The phrase “to pursue other interests” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

“Not a result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Cootey’s decision to resign was not a result of any disagreement with the Company relating to its operations, policies or practices,” Wynn Resorts said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Precise information about the future plans of Cootey was not immediately available.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Wynn Resorts, Limited since February 2014.

Northern Cross holds 10.8 percent stake

Northern Cross, LLC reported a 10.8 percent stake in Wynn Resorts, Limited as of December 31, 2016.

Chaired by Stephen A. Wynn

Wynn Resorts, Limited is chaired by Stephen A. Wynn.

Wynn has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since June 2002.

On the job as CFO since 2014

Cootey is the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and Treasurer.

Before Cootey was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, effective as of May 16, 2014, he had served as the Company’s Treasurer since February 2014, and was the Company’s Senior Vice President – Finance from January 2014 to May 2014.

He also serves as an officer of several of the Company’s subsidiaries.

Prior to joining the Company, Cootey served as Senior Vice President – Corporate Finance for Las Vegas Sands Corp. from March 2012 to December 2013, and Vice President – Corporate Finance from October 2009 to March 2012.

From June 2004 to October 2009, Cootey was Partner and Senior Research Analyst with Prides Capital, LLC.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Steve Cootey’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by management-change.com suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the management-change.com report 09.2017 ($).