UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has promoted Jim Mullen, the managing director of its digital business, to replace Richard Glynn as the company’s new chief executive.
Mullen takes charge of the business from April 1st, having been with the company since November 2013, having served three years as chief operating officer for Ladbrokes' rival, William Hill Online.
During his time with the company to date, he has taken charge of the operational transformation of the online business, launching new products and systems, and managing the relationship with its software and services partner Playtech.
Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine said that the operator conducted an extensive search to identify Glynn’s successor, attracting a number of strong external candidates.
“We wanted a combination of industry experience with strong digital skills, a proven record of operational delivery and the leadership ability to capitalise on the opportunities for growth that are now ahead of us,” he explained.
Erskine said that since Mullen joined the business he has helped transform the company’s digital operations, building and leading a strong team and winning the respect of his colleagues and confidence of the board through successful delivery of a “competitive and innovative digital offer that has delivered growth.”
“The Board is confident that Jim can use the leadership qualities he has displayed in the digital team to take forward the wider Ladbrokes’ business,” he said. “Ladbrokes has gone through extensive change and Jim’s task will be to build on the strong foundations laid and make us compete even more effectively, deliver a robust growing business and build scale. He faced tough competition from strong external candidates but emerged as the unanimous choice.”
Jim Mullen said that he was delighted to become chief executive of Ladbrokes.
“The business has undergone rapid change and we have laid good foundations from which to grow but there remains much to do,” he explained. “We have a strong brand, competitive products and excellent people throughout the business.
“I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to make the most of the opportunities ahead to grow the Ladbrokes business.”
He will be paid a salary of £500,000 for the role and will be appointed to the company’s board following its Annual General Meeting on May 7th.
His predecessor Glynn, whose departure was announced in December 2014, is to step down from the CEO position and leave the board on March 31st, at which point details of his termination agreements will be made public.
While the company struggled to grow its iGaming business during Glynn’s five-year tenure, trying and failing with a number of different strategies, the digital division has begun to show signs of recovery following the service agreement signed with Playtech in March 2013. iGaming revenue grew 23 per cent year-on-year in 2014, rising to £215.1m.
So far, Mullen’s appointment has not been greeted with much enthusiasm from industry analysts. Simon French of Cenkos Securities said that while the removal of uncertainty regarding Glynn’s successor is positive, he believed that the market would be disappointed that an outside candidate was not appointed.
“For us it signals more of the same (“build on strong foundations”) when Ladbrokes is in urgent need of radical action,” he said.