Newly appointed Star’s managing director and CEO, Robert Cooke, stated that “ensuring continuity of the business through a comprehensive renewal program is of paramount importance” as he tackles the company’s “well-documented challenges” throughout his tenure.
Interim Chairman Ben Heap said “A comprehensive search conducted by global executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart identified a number of quality candidates. Following a thorough process, the Board concluded that Robbie was the standout candidate with the ideal combination of experience, capabilities and attributes to lead The Star.
“Robbie is a trusted, respected and highly experienced chief executive. He has been the CEO of major ASX 200 listed companies and brings extensive commercial experience in operating and driving transformation programs within highly regulated environments, overseeing large workforces and building executive teams in multi-jurisdictional locations.
“As CEO of the lotteries, wagering and gaming operation at Tatts Group, he led a comprehensive transformation program and secured valuable license agreements with various State governments. In his role at Wotif.com, Robbie helped build a market-leading business across the hotel sector during a period of significant industry disruption. Most recently at the Australian bank and payment fintech, Tyro Payments, he led the company through the post-Financial Services Industry Royal Commission environment with a focus on risk culture, cultural alignment and employee engagement whilst driving strong transaction growth from ~$13 billion to in excess of $30 billion over 4 years.
“Given The Star’s significant investments to develop world-class tourism and entertainment destinations in South East Queensland and Sydney, the Company will benefit significantly from both his understanding of the industry’s regulatory environment and extensive insights and experience across the hotel and broader hospitality sector.
“Robbie is well placed to lead The Star and restore confidence in the organization. He is an outstanding choice to guide the Company through its critical ongoing renewal program, a body of work already underway that will deliver a number of near and medium-term initiatives focused on governance, culture, training, systems and technology.”
Robert Cooke said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to re-join the gaming and hospitality industry, which is a passion of mine and where I have spent the majority of my career.
“There are challenges for The Star that have been well documented. They will be my priority and focus. Ensuring continuity of the business through a comprehensive renewal program is of paramount importance. This is also an incredibly resilient business with thousands of team members providing the commitment, enthusiasm and inspiration that helps deliver outstanding customer service.
“Major development projects are also underway or in planning across The Star, and in South East Queensland they represent transformational opportunities for the Company and the state. It’s all the more exciting with the Olympics on their way in 2032.”
Robbie Cooke biography
A highly experienced Chief Executive Officer, with deep experience in technology-enabled customer businesses and regulated sectors, including wagering, lotteries, hospitality and entertainment.
Mr. Cooke is currently the Managing Director of Tyro Payments, an Australian bank and payments fintech providing merchant credit and EFTPOS services, which he successfully led to IPO in 2019. Prior to this Mr. Cooke was Group CEO and Managing Director of Tatts Group from 2013 to 2018 where he led the business through several change initiatives, including a complex organizational renewal program and restructuring of the business through to the completion of the merger with Tabcorp.
Prior to joining Tatts Group, Mr. Cooke was Managing Director of Wotif .com from 2006 to 2013 where he formulated the growth strategy, including several acquisitions, and steered the business to a successful ASX listing in 2006.
Mr. Cooke was also head of strategy and legal counsel at Queensland-based wagering and gaming company UNiTAB for six years until 2005.