By Chris Isidore and Julia Horowitz
Steve Wynn is out at Wynn Resorts. But he’s not leaving empty handed.
At the very least he leaves with 12.1 million shares of the casino operator. He’s already richer for leaving — Wynn’s stock rose nearly 8% early Wednesday after the company announced his departure. That jump added about $154 million to his net worth — not a bad exit package in its own.
It’s not clear how much Wynn will get on his way out the door — if anything. But the company hinted that Wynn will get some kind of severance. “Details of Mr. Wynn’s separation agreement will be disclosed when they are finalized,” the company said in a press release.
If Wynn had been fired “without cause,” he would have taken home nearly $250 million, according to his contract.
Wynn’s stake is now worth about $2.1 billion. That’s still down about $300 million from where it stood before the allegations of sexual misconduct were spelled out by Wall Street Journal last month. The stock plunged after Journal published its story.
Although Wynn has called the allegations “preposterous,” he announced his departure from the company late Wednesday, saying that “I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”
Other executives collected large severance packages after losing their jobs because of sexual harassment allegations. For example, former Fox News President Roger Ailes received $47 million in severance when he left 21st Century Fox, according to court filings.
Laurent Potdevin, who headed athletic clothing company Lululemon, received a $5 million exit package.
The Wynn Resorts statement Wednesday did not suggest that it considered Wynn guilty of any misconduct. It referred to him as “an industry giant…a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary.” And it said it was reluctantly announcing that it had accepted his resignation. It made no mention of the internal investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations that the company said it had started in the wake of the Journal report.
But the board will have to approve any exit package, and it is under pressure from casino regulators and institutional investors who own the majority of its stock. For example, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is deciding whether Wynn Resorts should keep its license for its massive casino and hotel project set to open outside Boston in 2019.
— CNNMoney’s Laura Sanicola contributed to this report.
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