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Billionaire Packer returns to Crown board after China crackdown
[SYDNEY] Billionaire James Packer returned to the board of his casino operator, Crown Resorts, after the company suffered a clampdown by Chinese authorities and reined in overseas expansion plans.
Mr Packer, who controls Crown through his privately held investment company Consolidated Press Holdings, has been appointed as a Crown director, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Robert Rankin, who has been based in London and Hong Kong for the past 16 years, will step down as Crown's chairman and also as chief executive officer of Consolidated Press as the casino company increasingly focuses on its Australian business, according to the statement.
Crown Resorts last month abandoned a proposed spinoff of international assets and more than halved its stake in Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. Chinese authorities in October detained 18 Crown staff in China for alleged gambling crimes.
John Alexander, currently Crown's executive deputy chairman, will replace Rankin as chairman on Feb 1. Mr Rankin will remain as a Crown director and a director of Melco Crown.