Ladbrokes Australia has announced that its chief operating officer Paul Cherry will move up to become chief executive of the business when incumbent CEO Dean Shannon steps down early next year.

Cherry will become CEO of Ladbrokes Australia from February 2017, when Shannon will step down from his position for personal reasons.

Shannon established Bookmaker.com.au in February 2012, before selling the business to Ladbrokes in September 2013 in an AUD$22.5m deal, and has continued to lead the company as a subsidiary of the operator ever since.

Once he leaves the business he will continue to act as an advisor to Ladbrokes Australia to support its growth and ensure a smooth transition to its successor.

Cherry has been chief operating officer for Bookmaker.com.au, then Ladbrokes Australia, since the company’s founding and has been responsible for technology innovation and product development.

He managed the swift integration of the Betstar business and the development of a number of market firsts, such as the Ladbrokes Card and Cash In payment products. He has more than 15 years’ experience in operations, product and marketing experience.

“We always knew the day would come when Dean would want to step down,” Ladbrokes chief executive Jim Mullen commented. “He has been instrumental to the success of Ladbrokes in Australia. He has established a challenger brand and won customers through innovation.

“His success can be seen in the customer metrics and in the fact we are now the number three recognised brand from a standing start just three years ago.”

Mullen hailed Cherry as having been “core” to Ladbrokes’ success as a key part of its Australian management team.

“We are proud of what has been achieved in Australia and are confident in the ability of the team to take the business forward to the next stage of growth and strategic development," said Mullen.

“I have enjoyed my time in the bookmaking sector and am very proud of what we have built and achieved in the Australian market,” Shannon added. “The business has an experienced management team that is passionate about sports betting and focused on results and I firmly believe that the Ladbrokes story has much further to run.

“Paul is a talented executive and the natural choice and I am pleased that he will be given the chance to maintain Ladbrokes’ Australia’s momentum."

Shares in Ladbrokes plc (Co. Data) (LSE:LAD) were trading at 144.00 pence per share in London earlier Tuesday.

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