CNBC’s Jim Cramer has long considered Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn, who was recently accused of sexual misconduct, to be “one of the greatest executives of all time.”
“Obviously that’s not an excuse, people, but as investors, it’s something we need to reckon with. Wynn’s created tremendous wealth over the years thanks to his dynamic style of leadership,” the “Mad Money” host said on Monday. “I know of no other CEO who has his attention to detail or feel for what his customers really want. To be at one of Wynn’s casinos is to feel like a king.”
The allegations against Wynn, first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, span decades of abuses by the billionaire as told by current and former employees.
In statements released to the press, Wynn denied the allegations, saying that his ex-wife Elaine put the reports into motion while seeking a revised settlement in their divorce.
Still, the institutional response has been swift. Shortly after the news broke, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said it would review one of Wynn Resorts’ $1 billion projects.
The same day, Wynn Resorts’ board of directors said an independent committee would investigate the misconduct claims. Then on Saturday, Wynn stepped down from his role as finance chair for the Republican National Committee.
“Now that Steve Wynn stands accused of being a serial sexual harasser and abuser, it’s a big deal for Wynn Resorts and the stock. Steve Wynn is Wynn Resorts,” Cramer said, noting that the Nevada and Massachusetts Gaming Commissions “could make life hell” for the company’s expansion plans.
Shares of Wynn fell 10 percent in the wake of the report, sliding another 10 percent on Monday to $163.48 as of the closing bell.
“I’ve heard some people arguing that this is a win-win scenario,” Cramer said. “Either Steve Wynn is cleared and you’ve got a buyable dip or he isn’t cleared and some Chinese hotelier steps up and buys the whole company for $25 billion, a major premium from its current $16.8 billion market cap.”
But Cramer wasn’t eager to embrace that view. For years, the “Mad Money” host has seen Wynn Resorts’ stock as a hotel stock trading at a premium tied to Steve Wynn’s leadership.
“Without him, it’s just another chain with no leader, and even if they find a great successor, I can’t see anyone else running them as well as Steve Wynn runs them,” Cramer said. “Where do I come down? When there’s this much indecision and the stock has run so much since the bottom even though it’s come down from the top, I have to take a pass. You know what? You’ve got a 17, the market has a face card. I actually don’t want to see what’s underneath it.”