he CEO of GVC Group, the owner of Ladbrokes Coral and Bwin, will step down from the company and the Board after 13 years in the position.
Kenneth Alexander, who became chief executive in 2007, will hand over to his Chief Operating Officer Shay Segev on Friday, following a long-term succession process, GVC announced Thursday.
The change comes as UK gambling firms keep planning their entry to the emerging US market, and amid Covid-19 restrictions putting sports fixtures on hold and closing high street bookies. The damage to GVC from the pandemic was revealed on Thursday as the group reported net gaming revenues down 22 percent in the second quarter, but it said cost cutting has allowed it to retain financial strength.
Online net gaming revenue grew 22% for the quarter, but this was offset by lower retail revenue. In the UK, retail net gaming revenue dropped 86% on a like-for-like basis, the company said. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in the first half are forecast to be a higher than expected at £340m to £350m. Its first half group net gaming revenue declined 11% and online net gaming revenue rose 19%.
Alexander oversaw more than £5bn worth of acquisitions during his tenure when the group bought rivals Bwin.party and bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral, propelling GVC into one of the world’s largest gambling companies, with over 25,000 colleagues in 20 offices across five continents. Under his leadership, the group formed a joint venture with MGM Resorts to break into the US market, where it plans to expand as it offsets a UK gambling industry facing a regulatory crackdown, as reported by the Financial Times.
“I have given 13 years to GVC and I now want to give some time to my family,” Alexander said in a news release. “I have spent the last four months working from home and reflecting on my future plans, and this feels like the right moment. Whilst it is never easy to hand the baton on, it has been very clear for a number of years now that Shay is the right person to succeed me.”
Segev joined GVC in 2016, after working as the chief strategy officer at Gala Coral. He runs large parts of the business including its retail business, M&A activity, technology platform and US joint venture. “I am succeeding [Mr Alexander] at a time when the business is in robust financial health with an exceptional team and exciting opportunities ahead of it, especially in the US,” he said.