888 Holdings parts ways with CEO Itai Pazner; suspends VIP operations in certain markets

30th January 2023 9:44 am GMT
Itai Pazner

London-listed 888 Holdings has announced the immediate departure of chief executive Itai Pazner and the suspension of VIP activities in the Middle East.

The company said Monday (Jan. 30) that Pazner is leaving his role as CEO and company director with immediate effect and will be replaced on an interim basis by non-exectuive chair Lord Mendelsohn, who assumes the position of executive chair while a permanent chief executive is identified.

888 did not reveal the reason for Pazner’s departure.

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Itai for his significant contributions to the business over more than 20 years, including the last four as CEO,” said Lord Mendelsohn. “Itai has played a very important role in building a business with powerful proprietary technology, and has overseen successful early stages to the William Hill integration process. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

The announcement came on the same day that the company said it is suspending VIP operations in the Middle East due to KYC and AML concerns.

The decision follows an internal compliance review which found that certain best practices have not been followed in regard to KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) processes for 888 VIP customers in the Middle East region.

“While further internal investigations are underway, the Board has taken the decision to suspend VIP customer accounts in the region, effective immediately,” said the company.

It is estimated that the VIP business in the region accounted for less than 3 per cent of group revenue.

“The Board and I take the Group's compliance responsibilities incredibly seriously. When we were alerted to issues with some of 888's VIP customers, the Board took decisive actions,” Lord Mendelsohn added. “We will be uncompromising in our approach to compliance as we build a strong and sustainable business.”

It is not known if the two events are related.

Update 09.39 GMT: The planned departure of 888 chief financial officer Yariv Dafna has been postponed until the end of the year following today's departure of chief executive officer Itai Pazner.

Dafna was due to step down on 31 March 2023.

Shares in 888 Holdings plc. (LSE:888) were down 23.14 per cent at 79.32 pence per share in London Monday morning.

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