Posted on: July 17, 2020, 07:39h.
Last updated on: July 17, 2020, 07:39h.
Online gaming giant GVC Holdings is to bid goodbye to its transformative CEO, Kenny Alexander.
The company announced the surprise departure — which will take place at the close of business Friday — during an earnings call on Thursday morning. Alexander said he had decided to spend more time with his family following a period of lockdown contemplation. His replacement will be GVC’s current chief operating officer Shay Segev.
“I have spent the last four months working from home and reflecting on my future plans, and this feels like the right moment,” Alexander said.
Over 13 years, Alexander transformed GVC from a bit-part player listed on the AIM — a submarket of the London Stock Exchange especially for small companies — into one of the biggest gambling companies in the world, listed on the FTSE 100.
He did this by leading a string of audacious takeovers. In 2015, GVC won a much-publicized high-stakes bidding war against 888 Holdings for the $1.72 billion acquisition of bwin.party.
In December 2017, GVC agreed to buy Ladbrokes Coral in a deal worth over $5 billion, which saw the online gaming company become the UK’s biggest land-based sports betting operator.
The company is currently looking to make it big in the US. Last week, it announced that it had increased funding for the ROAR Digital sports betting venture it operates as an equal partner with casino giant MGM Resorts International. Both companies initially put $100 million each into the project but have now committed to increasing that figure to a total of $450 million.
Bearing the Backlash
Things haven’t always been plain sailing for Alexander. He has presided over GVC during an unprecedented regulatory backlash against the industry in the UK.
But he has spearheaded efforts to help the gambling sector overcome its image problem, initiating a self-imposed industrywide ban on gambling advertising around televised sports events in the UK and campaigning to increase the voluntary betting levy by tenfold over the next five years.
He was instrumental in the formation of the Betting and Gaming Council — an organization focused on promoting responsible self-regulation for the industry.
I have given 13 years to GVC and I now want to give some time to my family. I have enjoyed every minute of helping to grow GVC into the business that it is today, and am proud of all that has been achieved,” Alexander said.
“We have the best people, brands and technology in our sector, and our joint venture in the US with MGM Resorts positions us very strongly for growth in that hugely exciting market,” he continued.
Alexander added that as a GVC shareholder he was confident that the company would be in good hands with Segev, describing his successor as an “outstanding leader with a clear strategic vision.”
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