NetEnt chief executive Per Eriksson has been removed from his role with immediate effect, with chief financial officer Therese Hillman assuming his duties on an interim basis.

The board of directors of NetEnt said Monday that Eriksson has been replaced in order to increase focus on the company's long-term growth.

"NetEnt has developed well over many years and several parts of the business are still developing well, for example in regulated markets, but the overall performance of the group has not been as it should," chairman Vigo Carlund explained.

"The board believes that NetEnt needs a new driving force to reverse the trend and increase the focus on growth."

Eriksson had served as chief executive officer of NetEnt since March 2012, leading the company into a number of new markets including the US and overseeing a significant expansion of its products and services portfolio. However, the company was forced to issue a warning in January that it would fail to meet its 2017 final-quarter revenue and profit targets.

The process to recruit a new chief executive is now underway, with chief financial officer Therese Hillman assuming Eriksson's duties in the meantime alongside her responsibilities as CFO.

"The value creation potential in NetEnt remains significant," Carlund added. "The online gaming market has structural growth driven by the migration from offline to online gaming. The company has a solid balance sheet and a strong brand name in its segment of the market. The board would also like to extend its gratitude to Per Eriksson for his time as CEO for NetEnt."

Shares in NetEnt AB (STO:NET-B) dropped sharply on the announcement Monday morning, trading down 10.53 per cent at SEK38.42 per share in Stockholm.