Friday 19 January 2018

Race on to take top seat at Paddy Power

Paddy Power Chief Executive Patrick Kennedy
Paddy Power Chief Executive Patrick Kennedy
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

After Patrick Kennedy dropped the bombshell that he was going to leave Paddy Power, the listed bookie lost €250m of its value.

Compare this with the last really big exit, Myles Lee at CRH. In the week after he announced his departure back in February 2013, shares actually rose, adding €606m onto the value of the company.

Kennedy's job has been the highest or almost highest paid role in any listed Irish company for years. Since he started, Kennedy has picked up shares worth €24.6m. He's also sitting on a massive blob of options worth up to €4.7m. There's also salary earnings of over €15m in the last decade. Then there were dividends.

That's about €48m worth of love from the shareholders.

In fairness, Kennedy has probably been the chief executive of his generation.

Paddy Power's share price has risen fourfold and earnings have also more than quadrupled. Big shoes to fill.

While chairman Nigel Northridge is hiring headhunters, big shareholders like Stewart Kenny, John Corcoran and David Power have got to be praying that Northridge doesn't get a David Moyes.

With a year to go until Kennedy's flagged departure, the runners and riders are beginning to assemble. Internally at least.

Rival bookie Boylesports have priced up the contenders. They're giving Paddy Power's Peter O'Donovan at 5/1; Andy McCue 6/1, Andrew Algeo 6/1; Johnny Hartnett 8/1; Betfair's Breon Corcoran at 8/1, Paddy Power Australia's Cormac Barry is 10/1; William Hill's Andrew Lee 10/1; Rank's Henry Birch is quoted at 12/1 and Skybet's Richard Flint is also at 12/1.

My insiders tell me that Cormac Barry, who runs Paddy Power's massively successful Australian operation, and Head of Retail Andy McCue are really strongly fancied.

I'm always a sucker for a hot tip. There goes the mortgage payment for the month!

Sunday Indo Business

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