Joint CEO, Bet365
Big sister Denise is credited as the motor behind Bet365’s astonishing success, but John Coates plays a vital role. While Denise is an accountant by profession, John is a lawyer and regulation is one of his responsibilities. Bet365 is important in opening up new markets and John’s role in this is crucial. He is hugely influential as the chairman of the Remote Gambling Association, where his views are widely respected at board meetings and by regulators and politicians. John’s presence, wisdom and experience guarantee a receptive audience. Both John and Denise shy away from publicity but innovative marketing has been a key feature to Bet365’s success, and this is John’s baby. While both work closely on any key decisions, John has worked wonders with the firm’s marketing despite the small team devoted to it. As discussed on page 53, Bet365’s marketing efforts are influential far beyond Bet365’s home in Stoke-on-Trent.
Director of marketing and strategy, 888
Gareth Edwards is a huge character having a huge impact on the fortunes of 888. In recent years 888 was starting to head towards oblivion but Edwards and interim CEO Brian Mattingley are turning the ship around thanks to a refocusing of strategy. The key was identifying 888’s (hidden) strengths and playing to them. One of these has been its marketing. From very early on 888 has had one of the most recognisable brands in online gaming. Edwards has re-engaged 888 with its public. Edwards cut the deal with Shane Warne to bring him on to TV screens as the unlikely face of 888. Warne was far from an obvious brand ambassador but Edwards saw that the cheeky Aussie’s charm and charisma could push 888 into the public’s imagination. This deal has been key to ensuring that 888’s re-focusing of B2C operations has gone well, and embodies the success of Edwards’ marketing and strategy responsibilities.
Brand director, Sportsbet and IAS Bet
Barni Evans was marketing director of Paddy Power until leaving to give its Australian operations a boost in mid-2011. As marketing director, he oversaw several high-profile campaigns, including 2010’s most-complained about TV ad, featuring blind footballers apparently kicking a cat. More recently, the bookmaker used glamour model Imogen Thomas in its ads, following her alleged affair with Ryan Giggs, to coincide with the Champions League final. The bookmaker also erected a 270ft Hollywood-style sign overlooking Celtic Manor, the venue for last year’s Ryder Cup in Wales, leading the local council to serve it with an injunction. He has raised brand awareness of Paddy Power to an all-time high. The bookie’s financial results have justified Evans’ huge advertising expenditure. Paddy Power is trusting him with bringing the same level of success to its newly acquired Australian companies. Expect him to succeed.
CEO, GTS and Virtue Fusion
Aaron Johnson has performed a broad range of roles around Playtech and now heads up the GTS and Virtue Fusion subsidiaries. Over the past few years his role in developing the affiliate marketing capability in what is now known as PTTS has given him enormous understanding and experience in the industry. He is very well-known and liked by all of Playtech’s clients and indeed its staff. Affiliate marketing has been a key factor in Playtech’s success and in this field Johnson is a master. He is also a fixer, great at sorting out the issues that technology companies tend to get themselves into. He has been welcomed with open arms by the staff at Virtue Fusion, where he will have a big impact on bingo across the industry.
Founder and CEO, Income Access
When it comes to affiliate marketing solutions Nicky Senyard’s Income Access has been phenomenally successful. She founded the company in 2002 and has built it up to become a market leader. Senyard is a true pioneer in the field of affiliate marketing. She recognised very early on that this industry is all about networking and has become the living embodiment of that philosophy. She has a commitment to building relationships that operators and affiliates bond with. Senyard employs just 50 staff in three countries but she works with over 80 leading brands and 18,000 affiliates. Her influence over the industry is enormous.
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