[Issue 046] When #MeToo hits a publicly traded company
I'm sure many of you caught the most recent news in the #MeToo press...
Before we even get into the substantive discussion, my first reaction was, How the HELL did his publicist let him make a statement like... "The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous."
It's almost as if he hasn't ready any news over the past year.
No, Steve Wynn, it is NOT preposterous that a man used his position of power, wealth and/or fame to assault women. Nothing could be less preposterous.
Anyway, here are a few things to know about Mr. Wynn:
- He just celebrated his 76th birthday
- As the builder of some of the most well-known casinos and resorts: the Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio (that fountain isn't so beautiful to me anymore!), Wynn and Encore, he is described as a "towering figure in Las Vegas"
- While he no longer owns all of them, he is the Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts
This makes Steve Wynn the first CEO of a major publicly traded company to face such accusations.
While he has not resigned as CEO, the allegations have already resulted in direct consequences for him (a silver lining, of sorts).
On Friday the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which granted Wynn Resorts a casino license in 2014, announced that it would be conducting a regulatory review. The company is currently building a $2.5b resort outside of Boston.
That same day, the Wynn Resorts board of directors announced they formed an independent committee to investigate the claims. Shockingly, the committee will be led by the company's only female director.
On Saturday, he stepped down as the Republican National Committee Finance Chair. Wynn has reportedly donated over $1 million to the Republican party over the past 40 years, which includes over $700K to Donald Trump’s inauguration. (See a full breakdown of his donations here.)
Last, but not least, since the article was published on Friday, shares in the company have fallen by 10%, (dropping billions off its valuation). Given that he owns a 12% stake in the company, his net worth is thus on a sharp decline.
That's just within the first 4 days.
For the most part, I've avoided discussing the #MeToo movement largely because there have been long period when I've had to stop following the barrage of headlines for my own sanity. However, after reading the WSJ piece, I couldn't help but think this is only the beginning for Corporate America.
Just as Harvey Weinstein opened the flood gates on the #MeToo movement, I have a feeling Steve Wynn has just done the same for Corporate America. (Click to tweet this.)
I doubt it will take long before a few more exposés are written about other prominent CEOs and Chairmans, many of whom are probably on the phone with their lawyers as you read this.
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"The instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement."
- Steve Wynn, in his statement about the allegations
BTW If this is what it took for the dozens of people to share their stories, then I'm officially a fan of Ms. Wynn!