Monday 18 December 2017

Paddy Power Betfair hit as Corcoran to step down as CEO

Breon Corcoran
Breon Corcoran
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Shares in Paddy Power Betfair closed down 5.17pc in Dublin yesterday after the company confirmed chief executive Breon Corcoran will depart.

The company told the market yesterday that he would be replaced by payment processor Worldpay's UK boss Peter Jackson. A timetable for the change was not provided.

There had been much speculation about Corcoran's position after a weekend report that the bookmaker had hired headhunters to find his successor. He has been in the role for around 18 months, since the £7bn merger of Paddy Power and Betfair was completed last year. He had been Paddy Power's chief operations officer, but left for Betfair in 2011.

The bookmaker's share price has performed sluggishly of late, with challenges posed by the regulatory environment in some markets and the integration of the technology platforms of Paddy Power and Betfair.

"This was a very difficult decision to make, and there is never a good time to leave, but this is the right decision for me and my family," Mr Corcoran said.

Goodbody analyst Gavin Kelleher said Mr Jackson "looks to have the right CV to excel in the role". He was CEO of currency-exchange business Travelex from 2010 until it was sold in 2015. He has been an independent non-executive director at Paddy Power Betfair since 2016 and prior to the merger held the same role at Betfair from 2013.

Paddy Power Betfair chairman Gary McGann said Mr Jackson was the board's unanimous choice to replace Corcoran.

"The combination of his executive expertise together with his understanding of the Paddy Power Betfair business as a non-executive director uniquely positions Peter to assume the role of CEO," McGann said.

"Breon has been talking with me and the board about his long-term plans and accordingly, some months ago, we intensified our focus on executive succession planning to ensure an orderly transition."

Davy analysts David Jennings and Joseph Quinn said they believed Paddy Power Betfair would encounter acquisition chances in the next 12 months and that the transition should happen as soon as possible.

Irish Independent

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