International edition
October 25, 2020

Jonathan Mendelsohn will take over from Brian Mattingley

UK: former Blair adviser appointed chairman of 888 Holdings

UK: former Blair adviser appointed chairman of 888 Holdings
Lord Mendelsohn's appointment as the chairman of Gibraltar-headquartered 888 will come amid signs of further government curbs on the gambling industry.
United Kingdom | 09/23/2020

Lord Mendelsohn, who has decades of experience working for clients in the betting industry, has been named as a non-executive director of the online gambling giant, making him the second figure with close links to the Labour Party to take a role in the UK gambling industry in less than a week.

A

s reported by Reuters, Jonathan Mendelsohn, a former lobbyist who played an influential role in Tony Blair's rise to power has been appointed as chairman designate and non-executive director of online gambling giant 888 Holdings.

He is taking over from Brian Mattingley, the company's former chief executive and current chairman, after Mattingley's departure at the next annual general meeting in May 2021, 888 said.
 
The announcement was made by the company that operates sites such as 888 Casino and 888 Poker to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.

The appointment has made Lord Mendelsohn the second figure with close links to the Labour Party to take a role in the UK gambling industry in less than a week.

Tom Watson, the party's former deputy leader, was named as an adviser to Paddy Power's owner, Flutter, last Thursday.

Lord Mendelsohn's appointment as the chairman of Gibraltar-headquartered 888 will come amid signs of further government curbs on the gambling industry.

The company also operates a portfolio of online bingo brands including Posh Bingo and Tasty Bingo.

Lord Mendelsohn co-founded Oakvale Capital, a corporate finance boutique specialising in gaming, gambling and sports, and is married to Lady Mendelsohn, a former advertising agency executive who runs Facebook's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Oakvale has acted as an adviser to gambling companies including Penn Gaming in the US, Stars Group and BetVictor.

As a founding partner of the London-based public affairs firm LLM, he was close to both Mr Blair and, subsequently, Gordon Brown.

People close to 888 cited Lord Mendelsohn's political networking expertise as a potentially valuable asset to the company.

In Mr Mattingley, he will replace a chairman whose re-election has proved to be contentious among shareholders in recent years.

More than 20% of 888 shareholders opposed his continued tenure at last year's annual general meeting.

888 has a market capitalisation of close to £700m, and has seen its shares rise by about 13% during the last year.

A spokesman for 888 declined to comment on Tuesday, while Lord Mendelsohn could not be reached for comment.

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