Elaine Wynn claims victory after booting Hagenbuch from board

John Hagenbuch saw the writing on the wall.

Two days before Wynn Resort was to hold its shareholder’s meeting, in which he would have certainly been voted off the board, he took the easy way out and resigned.  Along with his departure, fellow board member Robert Miller, who is a former governor of Nevada, also tendered his resignation.  The resignations are a small victory for Elaine Wynn, the ex-wife of the casino giant’s former CEO, Steve Wynn, and currently the company’s largest shareholder. 

Hagenbuch has been targeted by Ms. Wynn for some time in an effort to remove the "legacy board" of the company.  She has called on shareholders to vote him out, explaining that his long-standing friendship with her ex-husband is a sign that he is just as corrupt as her ex.  She called his departure a good step forward but added that there is much more that needs to be accomplished.

In announcing his resignation, Hagenbuch stated, “I do not want my candidacy to detract from the important progress we have made throughout the organization, including the ongoing refreshment process this board has initiated.”  The truth be told, Hagenbuch knew that he was going to be voted out during the election, and decided to save face. 

The departure of the two board members now brings to 60% the amount of the board that has been changed since February.  Ms. Wynn, who has been in a battle to replace the "legacy board" with fresh faces since she won back her voting rights, has repeatedly dealt with the old-school members’ attempts to usurp her legitimate authority as a controlling shareholder. 

In an effort at damage control over the sexual misconduct allegations against its former CEO, Wynn Resorts has appointed three new female directors to the board.  It has also settled lawsuits brought against it by Ms. Wynn and Universal Entertainment Corp, one of the casino giant’s early investors.   A $2.5-billion casino under construction in Massachusetts was renamed so that it wouldn’t carry the Wynn stigma.  

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