The billionaire businessman and investor has stepped aside from the board of Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) to address mental health concerns.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on July 9, 2018

CPH holds a number of Packer’s business interests, most notably a 47% stake in Crown worth around A$4.4 billion.

John Alexander, Executive Chairman of Crown, issued a statement confirming Packer’s departure: “We have appreciated James’ contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as director at this time.”

Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne told the ABC it was a momentous decision given that CPH has long been the prominent family’s primary investment vehicle.

“For James Packer to resign from that board is a very significant matter and obviously comes after resigning from all public company boards.”

Industry analysts IBISWorld has estimated CPH generated revenue of A$355.67 million in 2017.

Packer previously stepped away from Crown

In March of this year, the 50-year-old Packer resigned from the board of Crown Resorts. That decision was also motivated by ongoing mental health issues.

Following his exit from Crown, Packer checked into an exclusive psychiatric hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mental health advocacy body beyondblue has previously praised Packer’s open admissions of struggles with mental health and said his plight demonstrated that “no one is immune” from the conditions.

In 2017, Packer placed eighth in Forbes Asia’s list of the 50 wealthiest Australians. During that year Crown shifted strategy significantly, withdrawing from its US and Macau gambling ventures to concentrate on the Australian market.

Its major project is the A$1.9 billion Crown Sydney development which will include a casino and ultra luxury apartments.

In an apparent attempt to scale back his involvement in business in light of his health concerns, he also offloaded more than A$100 million worth of shares in Crown, a gaming and resorts conglomerate which owns major casinos in Melbourne and Perth. He also sold his stake in RatPac Entertainment, a business he had formed with Hollywood director Bret Ratner.

Recently, Packer has spent little time in Australia despite his interests in the country. In the filings to resign his position he listed Aspen, Colorado as his personal reisdence. He also lives on his polo ranch in Argentina for part of the year.