Tabcorp CEO Resigns Amid ‘Inappropriate and Offensive Language’

Posted on: March 14, 2024, 11:13h. 

Last updated on: March 14, 2024, 11:28h.

Off-the-cuff remarks allegedly made by Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild that a co-worker found inappropriate have cost the longtime gaming executive his job.

Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild Australia
Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild speaks in March 2023 at the Regulating the Game conference in Sydney. Rytenskild resigned this week after an internal investigation concluded he made inappropriate sexual comments in the workplace. (Image: AFP)

Tabcorp, the Australian racing and betting giant, announced Thursday that Rytenskild has tendered his resignation and has immediately stepped down. The Tabcorp Board of Directors said the news comes after an investigation conducted by an external law firm concluded that Rytenskild used “inappropriate and offensive language” in the workplace.

“The Board considered the language to be inconsistent with Mr. Rytenskild’s continued leadership of the organization,” the board wrote.

Rytenskild will only be entitled to termination payments as required by law and under his contract. The Tabcorp board said the outgoing CEO will forfeit all of his unvested short-term and long-term incentives estimated to be worth up to $10 million. Rytenskild’s annual salary of over $2 million (US$1.32 million) is also no more.

Tabcorp is Australia’s largest gambling company. Its three core brands are TAB, a multichannel wagering brand, Sky Racing/Sky Sports Radio broadcasting, and Max, a business-to-business gaming management platform.

Publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, Tabcorp shares dropped 2.5% on the Rytenskild news.

Rytenskild’s Fuzzy Memory

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Rytenskild was overheard making a sexual remark about an official working at a gaming regulatory office. The Tabcorp employee who filed the complaint said the CEO suggested he would perform a sexual act on the female government official if she helped the company obtain a favorable ruling.

Rytenskild says he has no recollection of the incident.

I don’t recall making the alleged comment and it’s not language I would usually use, but I have regrettably agreed to resign. Tabcorp has been an enormous part of my life for many years and I believe in the journey the company is on,” Rytenskild said.

Rytenskild has served in executive capacities at Tabcorp for more than 20 years. He was appointed CEO and managing director in 2022. His time leading the organization came after Tabcorp spun off its lottery business.

The Tabcorp board thanked Rytenskild for his leadership despite the unfortunate ending. “The Board regrets that Mr. Rytenskild’s employment has ended this way and acknowledges his commitment to Tabcorp’s growth over more than two decades … and his contribution to the transformation of the company,” Board Chair Bruce Akhurst said.

The board added that Rytenskild’s departure won’t impact the strategic direction of the company.

“We have the depth and capability across the executive and the senior leadership team to continue our transformation,” the release explained.

CEO Search Begins

Akhurst has agreed to assume the regulatory duties of the CEO position as a search for a permanent chief executive and managing director to succeed Rytenskild begins. Tabcorp has hired Sydney-based Maritana Partners to conduct a global search for that individual.

Rytenskild leaves less than three months after Tabcorp critically secured a 20-year extension of the lone wagering and betting license in Victoria. Tabcorp beat out a bid from rival Sportsbet to retain the monopoly on retail betting.

“Today is momentous in the journey of our company post-demerger. This is a positive outcome for our shareholders, the Victorian Government, and industry stakeholders,” Rytenskild said in December.