Shooting Star No Good Omen for Tyro

Shares in payments group Tyro fell 20% at one stage yesterday to new all-time lows after it lost its CEO, Robert (Robbie) Cooke to the toughest job currently in Australian business, cleaning up the reputation (and businesses) of the faltering Star casino group.

His departure was revealed yesterday from Tyro and his hiring by Star was revealed at the same time.

The role is huge – saving the embattled casino operator, providing it survives the final report of the commission of inquiry into its operations at the Star casino in Sydney.

According to Tyro’s release to the ASX, Mr Cooke, has provided six months’ notice, thus ending close to five years of leadership at Tyro.

Tyro’s board says that it will start an executive search process, canvassing both internal and external candidates to identify a new CEO.

Tyro shares ended Wednesday’s session down more than 16% at 65 cents. In contrast, Star shares rose more than 3% to $2.80. The market saw Star as the winner on the day.

Mr Cooke has committed to work with Tyro’s board to ensure a smooth transition.

Tyro chair David Thodey said in Wednesday’s release:

“The Board and I would like to thank Robbie for his contribution to our business and wish him all the best for his next chapter. We remain committed to providing outstanding customer service to our merchants and partners through innovative products and technology, driving operating leverage, and accelerating our move to become free cash flow positive.

Mr Cooke said he was 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.

Star interim chairman Ben Heap said in Wednesday’s announcement to the ASX that Mr Cooke 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.”

Before his role as CEO of fintech Tyro, which provides EFTPOS services and business lending, since March 2018, Mr Cooke previously ran lottery company Tatts for five years before it was merged into Tabcorp.

Before that he was the managing director of travel booking website from 2006 to 2013.

His appointment as Star CEO is subject to regulatory approval and probity checks. Mr Cooke’s starting date is yet to be confirmed.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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