Gambling CEO Breon Corcoran Reportedly Considered for Uber Head of Northern Europe Position

Breon Corcoran, the outgoing CEO of retail and online gambling behemoth Paddy Power Betfair, is reportedly been considered as a top candidate for the recently vacated Head of Northern Europe position at private hire transport company Uber.

Jo Bertram, who assumed the General Manager for Northern Europe position more than four years ago, quit last week amid Uber’s ongoing dispute with Transport for London. Last month, the ride-hailing company was refused license renewal, despite its widespread popularity in the English capital. Transport for London cited concerns over passengers’ safety for its decision to strip Uber of its license.

The company’s newly appointed global CEO Dara Khosrowshahi traveled to London earlier this week to mend the fences with Transport for London and try to solve the issue outside the courtroom. Uber has up until Friday, October 13, to appeal the transport body’s decision not to renew its license.

Searching for a new head of its Northern Europe branch, Uber has been considering top executive names, including Mr. Corcoran and Facebook UK’s head Nicola Mendelsohn.

Mr. Corcoran has been in the gambling industry for over sixteen years. He started his career in Paddy Power back in 2001. He then left the Irish bookmaker in 2011 and was appointed as CEO of Betfair in 2012. Last year, Mr. Corcoran steered Betfair through the £7-billion merger with Paddy Power that created a gambling giant with retail and online presence in regulated jurisdictions across three continents. He then headed the combined entity to ensure the successful consolidation of operations.

Paddy Power Betfair surprisingly announced in August that Mr. Corcoran was stepping down from his position. He will be replaced by Peter Jackson, who has recently been appointed as CEO of payment services provider WorldPay. It is still unknown when exactly the handover will take place.

Late last month, a letter sent by Mr. Corcoran to UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch stirred big controversy in the industry as the gambling executive has revealed that his company would support a pending crackdown on the highly controversial fixed-odds betting machines.

Mr. Corcoran’s Letter and the Ensuing Industry Discontent

Paddy Power Betfair currently manages around 300 betting shops in the UK and Ireland, with those hosting a number of FOBTs. The gaming machines have been criticized heavily for their highly addictive nature and campaigners have been calling for a massive reduction in the maximum bet these accept. At present, players can wager up to £100 every 20 seconds.

Mr. Corcoran said in his letter to Minister Crouch that his company would back a reduction of the maximum bet to £10 or even less, as this was the only way for the long-standing social issue to be solved.

While Paddy Power Betfair has a very successful online business and a FOBTs clampdown would indeed not hit its overall profitability that significantly, its rivals Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill would suffer severe damage.

The outgoing gambling executive was criticized by a number of industry representatives, who argued that his support for the pending crackdown was “opportunistic commercialism” masked as pure social concern.

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