Billionaire James Packer quits 22 boards, deepens corporate withdrawal
SYDNEY, July 19 (Reuters) - Billionaire James Packer has
resigned 22 Australian company directorships in the last few
weeks and no longer holds any board seat in his home country,
corporate records show, signalling his almost full retreat from
public business life.
The major shareholder of casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd
cited mental illness as the reason for his quitting
that firm's board in March, following a tumultuous period in his
life, which included a break-up with singer Mariah Carey and the
failure of Crown's expansion strategy.
He quit the board of his private company Consolidated Press
Holdings (CPH) on June 27, and corporate records show he
resigned from 19 other directorships on the same day, plus
another two since.
Packer, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $4.1
billion, has quit 24 Australian company boards this year.
"The changes are largely administrative in nature and
reflect attempts to modernise and simplify the corporate
structures," a spokesman of Packer's flagship CPH said by email
His retreat is all the more remarkable because for
generations, and most of the 20th century, the Packer family has
been a fixture of Australia's media business scene.
The 50-year-old James is one of Australia's highest profile
businessmen and a household name who has previously served on
the boards of some of the country's biggest companies, from
Qantas Airways Ltd to Nine Entertainment Co Holdings
Ltd and Seek Ltd, where he was an early
Packer's father, Kerry, inherited media interests from his
own father, Frank, in 1974 and built them into a publishing and
television empire - which James sold a decade ago in order to
form Crown, a casino firm.
He built it up before quitting as a director in 2015 amid
heavily publicised personal upheaval including a brief
engagement to Carey.
Packer rejoined Crown's board a year later during a period
of turmoil for the company when a dozen and a half of its
employees were jailed in China for alleged breach of gambling
marketing laws there.
"Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this
time he intends to step back from all commitments," CPH had said
in March, when Packer quit Crown's board.
The Australian newspaper, which first reported Packer's
string of resignations, said he remains a director of CPH's
parent company, Consolidated Press International Holdings
Limited, domiciled in the Bahamas.
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Muralikumar
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