SkyCity Entertainment Group [NZX: SKC] chief financial officer James Burrell, who had been seen as a potential leader of the casino and hotel operator, has resigned for family reasons and will return to the UK.
Burrell, who chief executive Nigel Morrison named as a potential successor in an interview with the New Zealand Herald last month, will step down from the company at the end of June to shift his family back to the UK, SkyCity said in a statement. During his three-year tenure with the company, SkyCity negotiated the Auckland convention centre deal with the government, sold its stake in the Christchurch casino, bought a second licence in Queenstown, and renegotiated its licence in Adelaide.
"James has contributed to these achievements, all of which strengthen our role as a provider of safe and fun entertainment and making the cities we operate in more vibrant," Morrison said. "He and his wife Sue have a young family and they want to be closer to their extended families."
Last month, Morrison told the Herald he intended to stay in the top job until 2017 or 2018, and Burrell aired his aspiration to take over as chief executive.
SkyCity has hired Heidrick & Struggles to find a replacement for Burrell.
The shares fell 1.2 percent to $4.05 yesterday, and have gained 8.6 percent this year.