SkyCity has announced that chief executive Nigel Morrison is stepping down as managing director and chief executive effective April 29.

In 2014, Morrison said he was planning to step down in two to three years however chairman of SkyCity Chris Moller said the board had been discussing a succession plan with Morrison since September, with both parties agreeing it was the right time for a new chief executive.

"Nigel has done an excellent job," Moller said. "During his tenure he has secured the extension of the Company's exclusive casino licences in Auckland and Adelaide and negotiated and managed the New Zealand International Convention Centre transaction and construction contract."

Moller said the business had grown significantly under Morrison's leadership, with its international business and the Federal Street area developing into a leading entertainment and dining hub.


Morrison was appointed as chief executive in March 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis. Since then the companies's shareprice has risen from $4 to $4.95.

The SkyCity board has appointed John Mortensen, currently New Zealand chief operating officer, as interim chief executive pending a global search for a new leader. Morrison said the job was "incredibly demanding" and after eight years he was ready to take a break.

"The company is in great shape with record revenues and profits and an eight year record high share price, with a market capitalisation of $3 billion," Morrison said. "So as a CEO it's a good time to step down."

Morrison said the leadership team in place was a very strong one and he was confident the company would continue to grow. Over his tenure as chief executive, Morrison has netted around $21 million in salary and bonuses.