Who Is On Team Packer?


James Packer dreams of a global brand with a casino in his hometown of Sydney at its heart. Even with Packer’s financial clout, it needs more than cash to put this plan into action. As part of New Matilda’s investigation of Packer and his casinos, here is Team Packer: the people who sit on the Crown board, who have worked for Packer companies, who are supporters with influence or family friends.

Read Wendy Bacon and Lawrence Bull’s article on how James Packer is playing the casino game in Sydney here.

Crown Ltd Board Members with annual income from Crown in 2012:

Rowen B Craigie Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director at Crown Ltd
Former Group General Manager for Gaming at the TAB in Victoria from 1990 to 1993 and held senior economic policy positions in Victorian Treasury and the Department of Industry in Victoria from 1984 to 1990. He is also a director of online betting company, Betfair
Total Remuneration: $6.875 million, including bonuses

Michael Roy Johnston Director at Crown Ltd
Former senior partner in the Australian member firm of Ernst & Young, Australia where he advised Packer’s private companies for 17 years.
Total Remuneration: $0

Benjamin A Brazil Director at Crown Ltd
Executive Director of Macquarie Group Limited, leading provider of banking and investment services.
Total Remuneration: $130,800

John Alexander Executive Deputy Chairman of Crown Ltd & Director at Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Joined Packer companies in 1998 after being Editor in Chief of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review
Total Remuneration: $1.5 million, plus shareholder

Harold C Mitchell Director at Crown Ltd & Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Founder of Mitchell & Partners (Australia’s largest marketing and advertising group), he is one of biggest media buyers in Australia.
Executive Chairman of Aegis Media Pacific
SMH Columnist
Total Remuneration: $119,900, plus shareholder

Helen A Coonan Director at Crown Ltd
Former Deputy leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (2004 – 2007)
Also served as the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, overseeing the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority
Total Remuneration: $63,583 (for first six months only). Annual remuneration will be $120,000 or more.

Geoffrey J Dixon Director at Crown Ltd & Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Current Chairman of Tourism Australia (the Australian Government’s major tourism marketing organisation)
Ex-Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Qantas Airways Ltd (2001-2008)
Total Remuneration: $140,000

Christopher Corrigan
As Managing Director of Patrick Partners led notorious attack on waterfront unions. Now Chairman of Qube Logistics Holdings

John S Horvath Director at Crown Ltd
Australian Government Chief Medical Officer from 2003-2009
Advisor to the Department of Health & Ageing
Total Remuneration: $205,775

Rowena Danziger
Ex-Principal of Ascham Private school for girls in Sydney’s wealthy east.
Total Remuneration: $210,000. Shareholder.

Ashok Jakob
Known as close confidante of Packer family. Previously CEO of private arm Consolidated Press Holdings. Now runs Ellerston Capital, in which the family holds 25% through its private arm.

In addition to their corporate fees, Crown directors get complimentary privileges at Crown Melbourne and Perth, worth thousands of dollars a year.

Employees of Crown Ltd

Karl Bitar
Resigned as National Secretary of the ALP in 2010. Initially a lobbyist for Crown through his company Strategic Advice Australia. Now works full time for Crown Ltd.

Mark Arbib
ALP Senator and part of Kevin Rudd’s inner circle. Resigned as Assistant Treasurer in Gillard government in March 2012 to take on Executive position at Crown Ltd

Gary O’Neill Crown Ltd spokesperson
Former ALP leader Kim Beazley’s chief-of-staff

Ann Peacock Public Relations Crown
Divorced from Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger. Daughter of ex Liberal party leader Andrew Peacock.

Corporate Connections through Consolidated Media Holdings
(Packer is currently selling his 25 per cent interest to News Ltd.)

Peter Gammell Director at Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Chief Executive Officer of Seven Group Holdings Limited
Director of Seven West Media Limited (Seven Network, The West Australian, Pacific Magazines and 50 per cent of Yahoo!7)

Guy Jalland Director at Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Director of Foxtel Management Pty Limited

Ryan Kerry Stokes Director at Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Son of Kerry Stokes, Chairman of Seven West Media Ltd which owns Channel 7 network and The West Australian and Yahoo 7.
Ryan Stokes is an Executive Director of Seven Group Holdings Limited, Director of Yahoo!7 and an alternate director of Seven West Media Limited.

David Gyngell Chief Executive of Nine Entertainment
Former Director Crown Ltd. He was in James Packer’s class at Cranbrook School and best man at his first wedding. He is now CEO of Channel Nine which Packer sold to private equity firm CVC in 2006.

Christopher Mackay Director at Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd
Member of the Federal Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council. Ex-member of the Business Council of Australia and director of the International Banks & Securities Association

Other Packer business connections

Gina Rinehart
Wrote to Packer praising his eulogy for 2GB’s Alan Jones on his 25th broadcasting anniverary dinner and shortly afterwards joined Packer as shareholder in Channel 10. In June 2012, The Australian reported that the two are close.

Lachlan Murdoch
Was involved with Packer in his disastrous One Tel investment and now is CEO of Ten Holdings in which Packer has a shareholding. Packer is friends with Murdoch who is a director of News Corporation.

Matthew Grounds
CEO of Australian arm of leading investment Bank UBS. He has done a lot of work for Packer including helping him engineer his exit from media and is working for Crown on its casino deals. He is executor of his will and godfather to his son. Along with other friends, he attacked journalist Paul Barry’s book Who Wants to be a Billionaire when it was published in 2009.

Other Packer media connections

Alan Jones Close friend
Publicly supports proposed Sydney casino complex.
Packer spoke at Alan Jones’ 2010 party celebrating 25 years in the media.

John Singleton
Owns advertising company Manboom with Packer and Robert Whyte
Majority owner of Macquarie Radio Network (2GB and MTR)
Ranked 138th on Australia’s BRW Rich List with $320 million

Kim Williams
Packer supported his leadership of Foxtel
Packer was described by author Paul Barry as a big fan of News Ltd CEO Kim Williams when he was head of Foxtel. Williams was one of a number who publicly attacked Paul Barry’s biography of James Packer Who wants to be a billionaire?

Other Packer Political Connections

Colin Barnett
Premier of Western Australia
Publicly supports Crown Perth extension. In August 2012, Packer said that it was because of his support that he was able to commit to the development.

Stephen Conroy
The Australian reported in January 2012, that the Minister of Communications had enjoyed rounds of golf with James Packer at Melbourne’s exclusive Capital Golf Club. Conroy defended his right to meet with major players.

Jeff Kennett
He was Packer’s choice for Echo Chairman and publicly supports his Sydney casino plan. Stephen Mayne who worked for the Kennett government in the 1990s has reported extensively on Packer and Kennett’s relationship when he was Premier. Kennett is on the Singapore Tourism Advisory Board. Kennett is a friend of James Packer and has been a close friend of Lloyd Williams (see below).

Peter Costello
Ex Liberal government Treasurer and deputy leader. He is reported to be a good friend of James Packer and attended his first wedding.

Graham Richardson
Ex Senior Minister in Hawke and Keating Governments. Has been paid millions in consultancy fees by the Packers and their companies. He was reported by Crikey in June 2012 to be part of James’ s ALP advisory team to head off poker machine reform.

Peter Barron
After working for Neville Wran when he was Premier of NSW and being the most influential advisor in the Hawke Labor government he worked for the Packers for many years. Father-in-law of ALP National Secretary Sam Dastyari and a friend of Richardson’s.

Barry O’Farrell
NSW Premier
Has been supportive of proposed Sydney casino resort. Liberal Party pollster and strategist since the mid 1990s, Mark Textor speaks to O’Farrell regularly. His firm Textor Crosby is a lobbyist for Lend Lease, Packer’s partner in his Barangaroo plan.

Bob Katter
Federal MP from Northern Qld.
In March 2012, Packer joined Alan Jones and John Singleton as backer of Katter’s Australia Party with a $250,000 donation from one of his private companies. At the time, Katter said, "the Packers have always been our people". Packer lobbied Katter who opposed Federal government poker reform.

John Howard
Australian Prime Minister from 1996 -2007. He attended James Packer’s first wedding and described Kerry Packer as a friend and a "great Australian".

Andrew Robb
Currently Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction and Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee. After being Director of the Liberal Party worked for the Packers’ PBL from 1997-2001.

Other Corporate Connections

Andrew Forrest Close friend
Chairman and founder of Fortescue Metals Group
Ranked 4th on Australia’s BRW Rich List with $5.89 billion

Gerry Harvey Close friend
Ranked 29th on Australia’s BRW Rich List with $1.1 billion

Lloyd Williams Close friend
Co-executor of Kerry Packer’s Will, Namesake of Packer’s son
Australian property developer and businessman who was the original owner Crown in which the Packers had shares and later bought out by the Packers in 1999..
His company Hudson Conway has big property and racing interests, including pedigree stables Macedon Lodge.
Forbes Asia estimated his net worth at $670 million

David Gonski
Close friend and advisor of Kerry Packer & co-executor of his will
Chairman of Investec Bank (Australia)
Dubbed "The Networker" in SMH’s ‘Top 100: Sydney’s most influential people’
Consultant to Prime Ministers and Premiers
Author of the Gonski education review

Eddie McGuire
Packer is one of the closest mates of the former CEO of Channel Nine and AFL powerbroker.


Greg Hywood
CEO of Fairfax media who was head of Tourism Victoria between 2006 and 2010. Tourism Victoria and Crown Casino had an agreement to promote each other. Hywood was also on the board of the Tourism and Transport Forum which is a very strong supporter of Packer. Hywood spoke at their 2012 conference urging the industry to rally behind Packer.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.