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Aristocrat Dumps Chiefs, Unveils Writedown

4 April 2003

MELBOURNE, Australia – As reported by Reuters: "The world's second-largest slot machine maker, Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, removed its chief executive and chief financial officer on Friday after a review of its troubled American operations uncovered fresh problems.

"The Australian company said it would take a charge relating to the problems, but its battered shares nevertheless surged after it announced Chief Executive Officer Des Randall would resign. Chief Financial Officer Lionel Jeyaraj would also leave on completion of a number of projects, it said in a statement.

"…[Chairman John] Ducker said in a statement long-time Aristocrat executive David Creary would serve as acting CEO while the company searched for a new CEO and CFO and acted to regain the trust and respect of employees, shareholders and customers.

"The board changes follow a review of its business in the Americas, its second-largest market outside Australia, that Aristocrat said uncovered issues requiring writedowns and adjustments estimated at a net A$14.3 million (US$8.6 million) for calendar 2003.

"The issues involved contracts with four customers in three South American countries.

"…Aristocrat said it had failed to seal a South American contract, and later admitted its U.S. operations had also fallen short of expectations.

"…At the company's results announcement in February, Randall vowed to stay and fix problems in the Americas. But the moves did little to spur recovery in its share price…"

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