Boylesports chief executive John Boyle plans to retire from the role this year, the Sunday Independent can reveal. It's understood Boyle (61) will remain on as chairman at the bookmaking firm he founded.
"I've been ceo now since 2012, and that's not my gig. My gig was retail and going out and finding stores. But I've gone in and I've enjoyed it for five years. I'm ready this year to step back from the frontline of being ceo," Boyle told the Sunday Independent.
He said the next chief executive would probably be someone who already works at the business.
The company has embarked on an aggressive acquisition spree, expanding its retail presence in Ireland by more than 10pc in the last six months.
It has also been seeking to establish a presence on the ground in Britain, having failed in its effort to acquire around 360 shops that came to market on foot of the Ladbrokes-Coral merger.
It is now focused on acquiring smaller, regional players.
"How close are we? In the last month we have been doing due diligence with a company, and we're very close. I would say in 2017 we will be operating in the retail market in the UK," Boyle told the Sunday Independent.
"Now, it'll be at a smaller level because the bigger level of taking over 300-400 stores at this time isn't available to us. I would hope within the next 12 months that we would set our sights at having at least 100 shops in the UK," he added.
The company is also casting the net further afield. It has employed a firm of consultants to bring it a monthly update on potential acquisitions worldwide.