Speculation continues over SkyCity chief’s departure

Despite denials of any dispute with the board, speculation continues over the sudden departure of SkyCity chief executive officer.

According to a local source, SkyCity’s announcement to raise a further NZ$263 million (US$178 million) from shareholders raised further questions, as the company had previously assured it was able to finance expansion out of existing credit facilities.

SkyCity Entertainment Group announced the resignation of Nigel Morrison in early April. SkyCity’s chairman, Chris Moller says the board and Morrison have been formally discussing succession planning since September last year.

It has been reported that Morrison will receive a payout of up to NZ$5 million and accept a 12 month restraint of trade.

Market commentators are questioning why the payout is so high, and the restraint of trade so long given the apparent “voluntary departure”.

Morrison maintains he was burnt out and needed a rest.

“It’s an incredibly demanding job and after eight years, I’m keen to take a break,” said Morrison.

SkyCity shares closed at NZ$4.67 ($3.16) on Friday down 9.7 percent from a year high of NZ$5.17 a month ago.