James Packer

For the second time in two and a half years James Packer has resigned as a director of Crown Resorts for what the casino operator says are “personal reasons”.

Packer first quit the board in December 2015, but rejoinedin 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.

At the same time a radical cost-cutting (including personnel) program was started and prosecuted with vigour by Alexander with Packer’s approval, in what was a repeat of what happened at the Nine Network in the early 2000s under Kerry Packer.

Crown Resorts did not offer any further explanation but The Australian reported this morning that they were “mental health” reasons.The Australian Financial Review quoteda spokesman for Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, saying that he is “suffering from mental health issues”.

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He is reportedly dropping all commitments.

“We have appreciated James’ contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time,” Crown executive chairman John Alexander said in a brief statement.

The Packer-controlled Consolidated Press Holdings is Crown’s largest shareholder, with 47.2% shareholding at the end of last month.

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