Australian tycoon James Packer quits family firm because of mental health problems

Casino mogul and eighth richest Australian has previously admitted having problems with depression

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 July, 2018, 3:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 July, 2018, 9:12pm

Australian tycoon James Packer has quit his family firm Consolidated Press Holdings as he recovers from mental health issues, a spokesman said on Monday, months after he stepped down from gaming empire Crown Resorts.

Packer’s departure from his private investment vehicle is the latest step by one of Australia’s richest people – who has previously spoken about his battles with depression – to walk away from his business commitments.

“Mr Packer has stepped off the CPH board as he continues his recovery from illness,” a spokesman for the firm said in a brief statement.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said Packer resigned from the board on June 27, with the notice confirmed to the corporate regulator on Friday.

The 50-year-old son of the late publishing and gaming mogul Kerry Packer abruptly departed Crown in March, citing “mental health issues”. CPH is Crown’s largest shareholder.

With a personal fortune estimated at A$3.9 billion (US$2.9 billion), Packer had long controlled the two companies built up by his family over three generations.

He had only returned to the Crown board last year after earlier moving aside to focus on international interests.

The decision comes after a series of turbulent business and personal struggles for Packer.

The Australian had a high-profile engagement with US music diva Mariah Carey before the couple split in 2016.

Around the same time, 19 Crown current and former employees were held for 10 months in China on charges of illegally luring rich Chinese to gamble in Australia.

Crown was also in the process of divesting from its international holdings to focus on its casinos in Melbourne and Perth, as well as a new gaming resort in Sydney.

Packer checked himself into a psychiatric hospital in the US just days after resigning from Crown’s board, The Sydney Morning Herald reported then, adding that he was treated there for six weeks.

The newspaper reported in late June that he was now spending time in the French Riviera with his current girlfriend, New York socialite Kylie Lim.