Entain, the owner of gambling brands such as Ladbrokes and Coral, on Thursday appointed Jette Nygaard-Andersen as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. She became the first woman to run a listed UK gambling group.
The bookmaker has hired one of its non-executive directors to replace Shay Segev, who decided to step down last week to join sports streaming company DAZN, as Entain tried to repel a £8.1 billion takeover proposal by MGM Resorts. On Tuesday, the US giant dropped its interest ahead of a deadline to make a formal offer.
Segev stepped down as a director on Thursday and will remain available to Nygaard-Andersen, the Board and management until 8 July, to facilitate an orderly transition. In addition, Rob Wood, Entain’s CFO, will have the role of Deputy CEO added to his current role with immediate effect. Sandeep Tiku, Entain’s Chief Operating Officer, will be appointed to the Board later in the year.
Nygaard-Andersen, a Danish national, joined the Entain board as an independent non-executive director in 2019. She has previously chaired Danish esports team owner Astralis, and had senior executive roles at Modern Times Group, a Swedish media firm that also has esports interests.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity of continuing the extraordinary momentum that Entain has in its existing markets, as well as helping it enter new regulated markets and reach new audiences,” she commented in a press release. She also said she was committed to “industry-leading levels of player protection”. Barry Gibson, Entain’s chairman, said Nygaard-Andersen was an “outstanding candidate and ready-made CEO”.
Entain on Thursday also announced its trading results for the last three months of 2020, with total revenues up by 7% compared with the same period in 2019, despite the closure of most shops, including the UK. Online revenues soared 41% year-on-year during the quarter, its 20th consecutive quarter of double digit online NGR growth.
Entain said net revenue online increased 27% in the year to the end of December compared with 2019, while retail sales fell more than a third in the UK and Europe. The growth in online sales were mostly driven by beneficial sports margins and customers shifting from retail to online betting during lockdowns
Entain's US betting joint venture, BetMGM, lifted online revenues 130% over the year as it entered new states where gambling had been recently legalized —it is now live in 11 states, plus Michigan will be launching online on Friday. It increased its 2020 revenue forecast for the business to a range of $175 million to $180 million (up from $150 million to $160 million). Overall, the company maintained its group core earnings forecast range of 825 million pounds to 845 million pounds.