Swedish gaming operator Cherry has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Jonas Wåhlander as CEO of its online gaming business unit.

Wåhlander has been appointed CEO for Cherry Online Gaming, which is based in Malta, to support the group’s “aspiration to drive further growth and profitability.” The division has grown to be increasingly important for the operator, generating 72 per cent of group revenue in the company's results for the third quarter of 2015.

He joins Cherry from outside of the gaming industry, having recently headed up Universal Sony Pictures’ operations in the Nordic region.

His arrival will see the iGaming business unit’s chief operating officer Marius Andersen shift over to a newly created role of chief growth officer.

"Cherry's long-term strategy is to generate continued profitable growth in online gaming, both through organic growth and acquisitions,” said Cherry Group CEO Fredrik Burvall. “These management changes will support Cherry Online Gaming to continue to grow faster than the market and increase our profitability.

“With Jonas Wåhlander joining, we bring added leadership and further experience from high volume, fast-paced and consumer centric business models.”

Wåhlander has 15 years experience in senior positions within various screen-based, online entertainment businesses, most recently managing the Universal Sony Pictures joint venture operations in the Nordic region where he served as managing director.

He had joined Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2006 as finance director, before moving on to become MD of the company’s Swedish operations.

"I’m really looking forward to joining a loyal, best in class team in Malta to continue to drive the business forward; it’s a tremendously exciting opportunity,” said Wåhlander. “Cherry is a group with great values, tradition and brands that we can harvest.

“I’ve been very impressed by Cherry’s focus on the future and the most recent results show that the business is going very much in the right direction. It’s our objective to act as leaders and I’m going to do everything I can to help Cherry continue to achieve that.”

Andersen will remain in the Online Gaming business area, having previously served as COO, and will report to Wåhlander.

Cherry said that Andersen will move to a newly created key senior role in the team as chief growth officer, taking operational ownership of and leading the online gaming divison’s “aspirational growth objectives and exploration in to new markets and focus on partner co-operations.”

“Marius Andersen has been an extremely valuable part of our outstanding growth in recent years and we are pleased we will maintain his significant experience and knowledge, in a role where we will benefit most from his skills and competencies,” said Burvall.

"Cherry’s Online Gaming business area has performed really well over the past year and I’m really excited to be in this new role which is dependent on maximising growth,” added Andersen. “I’m looking forward to continue supporting Cherry Online Gaming as we enter new markets and outperform the market when it comes to growth.”

Shares in Cherry AB (Co. Data) (STO:CHER) were trading at SEK91.50 per share in Stockholm Tuesday.

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