Aristocrat Leisure chief executive Jamie Odell is to step down from his role early next year, with executive vice president for global products Trevor Croker named as his replacement.

Odell will step down as chief executive and managing director of Aristocrat in February 2017 after eight year in the role, having overseen a transformation of the business through M&A and expansion into new markets.

Under Odell's watch, Aristocrat's market capitalisation has grown from AUD$1.7bn to a high of $10.6bn.

"The board respects Jamie's decision to depart at the end of February 2017 after a remarkably successful eight year tenure that has transformed the business," said Aristocrat chairman Dr Ian Blackburne.

"Jamie has been an outstanding leader for our company, our customers, shareholders and staff. We are grateful for his exceptional service and wish him and his family all the very best for the future."

Blackburne added that the company has been fortunate to have a strong slate of internal candidates from which to select a replacement, giving the company continuity in terms of strategy, culture and performance.

"The board weighed these advantages against a potential external appointment and also sought the advice of independent experts. It was very clear that an internal appointment was in the best interests of the business and shareholders, and that Trevor [Croker] was the ideal choice for the role," Blackburne said. “On behalf of the board, I congratulate Trevor on his appointment as CEO (Elect)."

Croker has worked for Aristocrat since 2009, joining from drinks business Fosters Australia as managing director of Australia and New Zealand. He then progressed to interim chief digital officer between 2015 to 2016 before taking on his current role as executive vice president of global product & insights earlier this year.

He is scheduled to take over as chief executive on March 1st 2017, subject to regulatory pre-approval.

In recognition of the fact that North America generates Aristocrat’s largest revenues and offers the business its most significant strategic opportunities, Croker will relocate to the US in the new year to take up the CEO role.

"Since joining Aristocrat, Trevor has had operational and strategic responsibility for the important Class III gaming markets of Australia and New Zealand, Asia Pacific and EMEA, in addition to experience leading our high growth digital business," Blackburne noted. "Trevor is the right person to build on Jamie Odell's extraordinary legacy, sustain the business's performance and lead forward to its next phase of growth."

Shares in Aristocrat Leisure Limited (Co. Data) (ASX:ALL) closed in Sydney Thursday up 2.87 per cent at AUD$14.71 per share.



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