Wynn Resorts upgraded to buy from hold at Stifel Nicolaus

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Elaine Wynn urges Wynn shareholders to remove director John Hagenbuch

Elaine Wynn, co-founder and biggest shareholder of casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. , on Monday urged shareholders to join her in withholding votes from director candidate John Hagenbuch at the company’s annual meeting scheduled for May 16. In an open letter, Wynn said she was “deeply concerned” about the lack of independence and oversight demonstrated by the current board and argued that the only way to restore the company’s reputation was to change its members and reform the company’s corporate governance. “This is largely the same board that announced only two months ago, “with a collective heavy heart” the resignation of “our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” she wrote, referring to her ex-husband who was ousted after revelations of yearslong sexual abuse of employees. “Several longstanding legacy directors still wield significant influence at the company,” she wrote. “This is especially true of Mr. Hagenbuch, who serves on the special committee responsible for overseeing the investigation into allegations of Mr. Wynn’s sexual harassment and on the compensation committee, which is responsible for the company’s executive compensation practices that proxy advisory firms have viewed as highly problematic.” Shares were slightly higher premarket and have gained 66% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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