Bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair Incoming CEO Takes Over from Breon Corcoran in January 2018

Peter Jackson will assume the role of a CEO of Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair on January 8, the company confirmed today. Mr. Jackson is taking over from Breon Corcoran, who has been part of Paddy Power for the past sixteen years.

Mr. Corcoran announced his intentions to leave Paddy Power Betfair back in August. The long-time gambling executive said that he wanted to pursue other career opportunities before it was too long for that.

The announcement surprised many and caused certain turmoil in the gambling company’s share price. Shortly after it became clear that Mr. Corcoran was stepping down, Paddy Power Betfair shares tumbled down more than 8%.

The outgoing CEO of the gambling giant joined Paddy Power back in 2001 and switched several positions at the company until he left in 2011. In August 2012, Mr. Corcoran was appointed as CEO of Betfair. He then steered Betfair and Paddy Power through their multi-billion merger in February 2016 and took the helm of the combined entity.

Uncertainty over the Change of Leader

The announcement about Mr. Corcoran leaving the company was immediately followed by another one that he will be replaced by Worldpay’s brand new UK boss Peter Jackson, who took over the UK branch of the global payment service provider this spring.

As mentioned above, the appointment of a new CEO of Paddy Power Betfair was met with uncertainty among investors. According to analysts, many would have probably felt doubts that Mr. Jackson’s extensive consumer and financial experience may not be enough to helm a gambling company, especially at a time of constant regulatory changes and increasing competition within the field.

While Paddy Power Betfair has been performing well in the first year and a half after the merger’s completion and Mr. Corcoran is leaving a company with strength across its brands and equally strong technology platform, Mr. Jackson will still probably have tough beginning of his career at the operator as he will be watched closely by investors.

The timing of the new CEO’s official appointment was revealed in Paddy Power’s trading update for the third quarter of the year. The company reported revenue of £440 million, reflecting a 9% year-on-year and EBITDA of £121 million for the period in review. Performance of its Australia- and US-facing brands and the company’s marketing campaigns were praised by Mr. Corcoran.

One of the big challenges before Mr. Jackson as the incoming CEO of Paddy Power Betfair would be to further adapt the company to the increasing regulatory challenges in the UK. The UK government announced on Tuesday that it would reduce the maximum stakes accepted by FOBT across betting shops. A 12-week consultation will determine by how much exactly these will be cut.

However, any reduction would impact bookmakers with retail presence in the UK, Paddy Power Betfair included.

Earlier this year, Mr. Corcoran himself took part in the ongoing debates over the future of the controversial machines by sending a letter to UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and calling for a cut of the maximum bet. According to the outgoing gambling CEO, any bookmaker should be able to sustain a reduction of the maximum bet to £10 from £100.

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