Patrick Kennedy, the long-serving chief executive of Irish gaming operator Paddy Power, is to step down from his role in April 2015 after ten years with the company.

Kennedy joined the operator in September 2005 in an executive role before taking over as CEO on January 1st 2006.

Prior to joining Paddy Power, he spent three years as chief financial officer of Irish food manufacturer and distributor Greencore Group, and previously held roles with accountancy firm KMPG and McKinsey Management Consultants.

Commenting on his planned departure, Kennedy said that he had “loved every day of being Paddy Power’s chief executive.”

“It is as fun and as interesting a job as anyone could hope to have, and I have had the privilege of working with some enormously talented and supportive people over the years that I've been here,” he added.

On his decision to leave, Kennedy explained that after ten years he believed “change is good, both for the business and the individual.”

“With this in mind, I have today given notice to the Board of my intention to step down next April, the tenth anniversary of my appointment,” he said.

The process of selecting Kennedy’s replacement will be handled by the company's nominations committee, led by chairman Nigel Northridge. Both internal and external candidates are to be considered for the role.

“He has advised the Board of his intention to step down next year, giving notice well in excess of his contractual obligation,” Northridge said. “In doing so, Patrick has given us more than adequate time to run a thorough process and ensure a smooth transition.”

Northridge said he would be sorry to see Kennedy leave the company, but added that the board was extremely grateful for his service over the years.

He noted that under Kennedy’s leadership the company had undergone a period of exceptional development and growth, with pre-tax profit rising from €31m in 2005 to €141m in 2013.

Shares in Paddy Power plc (Co. Data) (LSE:PAP) were trading down 3.78 per cent in London early Tuesday morning at €56.80 per share.