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James Packer resigns from Crown board

21 March 2018

A statement released by Packer's private investment vehicle, Consolidated Press Holdings, revealed that the billionaire is "suffering from mental health issues" and "at this time, he intends to steps back from all commitments".

Packer first quit the board in December 2015, but rejoined in January 2017 as the company's financial performance worsened, staff were arrested in China and the group underwent a radical revamp of its board, with packer loyalist John Alexander being elevated to the chairmanship.

It is understood that Mr Packer's resignation decision was sudden and made on his own after Mr Packer realised he has been unwell for some time. A month ago, Mr. Packer sold off more than 100 million Australian dollars, about $75 million American, of his own shares in Crown.

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As part of the transition away from the day-to-day running of Crown, Mr Packer will remain as co-chairman of Melco Crown Entertainment and Alon.

"Now is the right time for me to focus my endeavours on my new role with Crown, as I outlined to shareholders when I stepped aside as chairman in August", he said in a statement. "And you get gun-shy of getting hit", Mr Packer said in the interview.

Crown shares surged by 3.5 per cent to $12.00 in late morning trade on speculation that this is the latest move towards a privatisation deal.

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"He was a big personality associated with the direction and the drive of Crown", Mr Lucas said.

His resignation comes after he officially returned to the board of directors in July previous year, after stepping down as chairman in August 2015 and resigning as a director in December 2015.

The casino mogul returned to the board in January previous year, as part of one of several leadership changes at Crown, and following the company's decision to exit Macau and focus on its Australian assets.

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The casino company has also attracted global attention, when Chinese authorities detained and jailed a number of employees in 2016 over the promotion of gambling.

James Packer resigns from Crown board