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Who’s on the move?

2nd February 2021 10:14 am GMT
Playtech

Our monthly people news roundup highlights those in new jobs and highlights the tasks that await in their in-trays

Entain in flux

Shay Segev grabbed the headlines in January with his decision to quit Entain. He was fairly swiftly replaced by Jette Nygaard-Andersen, who was conveniently sitting on Entain’s Board of Directors and was delighted when the invitation came through.

Entain’s appointment of Nygaard-Andersen follows closely the template set by Flutter, when it looked at its Board and thought Worldpay UK CEO Peter Jackson would be a good choice to replace the departing Breon Corcoran.

Like Jackson, Nygaard-Andersen comes from an affiliated industry. The bulk of her experience lies with Modern Times Group (MTG), where she was chief executive officer of various units after joining the company from Accenture.

MTG evolved from a traditional television broadcasting company to a digital broadcasting company to an esports and video gaming company. Before it split the broadcasting and esports/gaming companies, it had annual sales of around SEK19bn (€1.9bn). MTG (the esports/gaming company) has annual sales of SEK4.2bn (€420m).

While her CV broadly fits with Entain’s evolution into an entertainment company focusing on the gambling industry, it is a big leap to jump from MTG executive to FTSE100 chief executive, with all that that entails.

However, this is what career progression is all about. And in this regard, she will be assisted by chief financial officer Rob Wood, who was appointed almost a year ago after six years as CFO of the retail division.

CFO Wood is promoted to CFO and deputy CEO with responsibility for all retail operations and M&A. It is the latter that will be all-consuming in the short-term (especially with retail outlets closed).

While MGM seems to have cooled its interest for now, the company is facing a shareholder revolt over its proposed £250m takeover of Enlabs. Alta Fox Capital Management claims the bid undervalues Enlabs by nearly 40 per cent. Entain is also understood to be in negotiations to acquire a £100m esports company. That might play more to Nygaard-Andersen’s experience.

What next for LVS?

Las Vegas Sands also had a change at the top after the death of founder Sheldon Adelson. Long-serving former president and COO Robert Goldstein took over as chairman and CEO following a short spell as acting chairman and CEO as Adelson’s health declined.

The real interest for the iGaming community was whether this sparks a change of tack with regards to LVS’s lobbying efforts. That question received a swift response when Goldstein said the company would consider a few opportunities to expand into online gaming, although details were thin.

Who is creating a Buzz?

Buzz Bingo appointed industry veteran Dominic Mansour as its new chief operating officer. Mansour has been around the block. He was CEO at Bragg Gaming until founding shareholder Adam Arviv decided he could do a better job in the chief exec’s seat himself. Mansour has had spells at PokerStars, GTECH, the Health Lottery, and Globalcom among others. Highly rated chief digital officer Stevie Shaves has been promoted to chief commercial officer.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) finally recruited a new CEO with chief legal and enforcement officer Carl Brincat picking up the role vacated by Heathcliff Farrugia last October. Farrugia’s number two departed with him. Brincat’s first job will be to reassert the MGA’s reputation in the international marketplace. The European Union’s continuing concerns over its investigation and prosecution of money laundering will be an immediate priority.

Back in the US, Penn National and MGM Resorts gained new finance chiefs. Felicia Hendrix joined Penn from Barclays. Her predecessor David Williams stepped down from his role due to the pressures of working remotely from the West Coast and a reasonable desire not to uproot his family in the midst of a pandemic.

Former Caesars CFO Jonathan Halkyard joined MGM Resorts after eight years working in other industries. His relationship with joint venture partner Entain and its new deputy CEO will be one to watch.

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