Markets: Executive roulette

Barry Felstead will be looking after Crown's sites in two cities after Melbourne chief Greg Hawkins leaves the gaming company.

Greg Hawkins is leaving Crown. His job as chief executive of Crown Melbourne has been combined with that of running the gaming company’s Perth business. Unfortunately for Hawkins, Barry Felstead will now run the Perth and Melbourne businesses. Felstead will divide his time between the cities, according to an ASX statement today.

The move may simply be one of cost cutting. Crown stands to save not an inconsiderable salary getting one man to do two jobs. This year, in the wake of a difficult domestic environment, Crown fired staff in Melbourne. Hawkins elimination from the payroll is a signal that Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie and chairman James Packer are taking, apart from their own compensation, cost cutting seriously.

At 1003 AEST Crown shares had added $1.08, or 2.5 per cent, to $44.91. The stock is up 22 per cent this year compared with the 9.7 per cent gain in the S&P/ASX200 Index during the same period, according to Bloomberg data.

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