Business Irish

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Paddy Power rings the changes at the top as Corcoran goes to Betfair


John Mulligan

Paddy Power has confirmed that one of its key lieutenants, chief operating officer Breon Corcoran (right), is defecting to become chief executive of UK rival Betfair.

The departure of Mr Corcoran (40) is a loss to Paddy Power, with the executive having overseen much of the development in recent years of the company's successful online business.

Mr Corcoran has been a board member at Paddy Power since 2004, having joined the company in 2001. He was only appointed to the newly created role of chief operating officer in August last year. He owns nearly 288,000 shares in Paddy Power, valued at €11.2m.

He won't begin his CEO role at Betfair until August next year. Betfair is the world's biggest person-to-person online betting exchange. Mr Corcoran will replace David Yu, who's been CEO for the past 10 years.

Mr Corcoran is highly regarded in the industry, but observers were quick to point out that over the past few years Paddy Power has significantly strengthened its management base.

In tandem with confirmation of Mr Corcoran's immediate departure, Paddy Power also unveiled five key appointments. Four of them have already held senior roles in the firm, while a fifth is a new recruit to the company.

Peter O'Donovan, who joined Paddy Power in 2001 and has been its head of online since 2009, has been appointed managing director of the group's online and technology function.

Christopher Coyne, who has been the head of e-gaming since joining in 2008 has been named head of the company's operation.

Eamonn Toland, who has worked with Paddy Power since 2007 as its head of telephone betting, is now president of Paddy Power's North America business.

Its new head of investor relations is Aine Cuddihy, who joined the company as a business analyst in 2007.

Sandra Thorpe is new to Paddy Power and joins as HR director for online and corporate. She was previously the head of HR at the European operations of Microsoft.

Gavin Kelleher, an analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers, said that while Mr Corcoran's departure was a loss for Paddy Power, the firm has constructed an enviable senior management team that's highly capable and able to drive growth further, as seen by the latest appointments.

"Paddy Power has better people than any one else in the industry," he added.

Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy said that the new appointments would help the group drive its business forward. He also wished Mr Corcoran well in his new role.

Shares in Paddy Power closed flat at €39.02, while shares in Betfair closed down 3.2pc in London.

Irish Independent

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