Friday 17 November 2017

Shareholders at Paddy Power Betfair brace for hit as report reveals they are looking for new CEO

Paddy Power Betfair’s CEO Breon Corcoran
Paddy Power Betfair’s CEO Breon Corcoran
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Shareholders in Paddy Power Betfair shares are bracing for a hit when trading opens tomorrow after a report that it is hunting for a new chief executive.

Current boss Breon Corcoran has occupied the role since February last year when the company was formed out of a mega-merger between bookmaker Paddy Power and online betting exchange Betfair.

The company was remaining tightlipped on the report this weekend. David Holohan, chief investment officer at Merrion Capital, said he expects a negative reaction by the market “probably in the realms of up to 5pc”.

Mr Holohan said he believed investors would like to see the company issue a press statement tomorrow morning to clarify the report by Sky News.

The report said the company had engaged external headhunters to advise it on finding Mr Corcoran’s successor. Mr Corcoran had been Paddy Power’s chief operations officer before leaving to head up Betfair in 2011. The merger brought him back to the Irish bookmaker as head of the merged entity. Paddy Power’s chief executive Andy McCue left the business.

“I don’t think anybody had been mooting this as a possibility. He’s been in Paddy Power Betfair a relatively short time and I think a big part of the logic between the merger of the two companies was that this was a way of bringing Breon Corcoran back to Paddy Power,” Holohan said.

The company’s share price is down some 15pc in the last 12 months with regulatory challenges on the horizon in Australia.

It will report half-year results on Tuesday.

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