Business Irish

Sunday 22 October 2017

Kennedy to step down as Paddy Power boss next year

Paddy Power Chief Executive Patrick Kennedy
Paddy Power Chief Executive Patrick Kennedy
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy won't go up against the gambling group in any new role once he leaves the business next April.

Mr Kennedy announced before Paddy Power's AGM in Dublin yesterday that he's going to resign as CEO next year after nearly 10 years in the role.

He'll remain for a year – well beyond the legal six-month notice he's required to give – in order to ensure a smooth transition for the group and his successor.

It's understood that former Ulster Bank boss Cormac McCarthy, who's now Paddy Power's chief financial officer, has ruled himself out of the running for the CEO post.

Record

Paddy Power is one of Ireland's biggest companies. It has a market capitalisation of €2.8bn and last year made a record €141m profit on net revenue of €745m. Its shares fell over 4pc yesterday on news of Mr Kennedy's planned departure.

Paddy Power chairman Nigel Northridge said he would be casting the net far and wide to find a replacement for Mr Kennedy, and declined to say if he had tried to persuade Mr Kennedy to remain in the post.

Mr Kennedy – who joined the Paddy Power board in 2005 and became CEO in 2006 – also insisted that he hasn't decided what he'll do when he leaves.

The businessman did not rule out remaining as a non-executive director rather than making a clean break.

"I have decided, with a lot of notice to the company, that 10 years from my appointment I'd like to step down," he said.

"They have a nomination committee. They'll run a full process and I've no doubt will appoint an exemplary successor.

"Change is a good thing both for the business and the individual. I've always felt that 10 years in a role like this is enough time at the helm. It's no more complicated or exciting than that."

He said his next 12 months are "completely focused on Paddy Power. The only thing I can tell you about what I'm going to do next is I'm never going to compete against Paddy Power," he added.

"I've got a completely open mind," said Mr Northridge of the hunt for Mr Kennedy's successor.

"We've got some very good internal people. We need to look outside as well as part of the process," he added.

Mr Kennedy announced his resignation as the group told shareholders that the amount of bets staked by customers across its platforms rose 20pc since the start of the year.

The company took a €10m hit in March over a weekend as most of the favourites won their Premiership matches in the UK.

Mr Kennedy also said he expects the amount of bets staked with the firm for the World Cup to hit €160m – double the amount taken in 2010.

Irish Independent

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