Ladbrokes owner Entain appoints female chief executive

Bookmaker’s appointment of Jette Nygaard-Andersen brings number of women in top FTSE 100 roles to six

Entain, the gambling company behind the Ladbrokes and Coral brands, has appointed a female chief executive in a move that raises the number of women leading FTSE 100 businesses to six.

The bookmaker has hired one of its non-executive directors, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, to replace Shay Segev, who departed abruptly last week. Segev left to join sports streaming company DAZN as Entain tried to repel a takeover attempt by American casino-owner MGM Resorts.

However, Entain appeared this week to have fended off the £8.1bn bid, with the US giant dropping its interest ahead of a deadline to make a formal offer.

One of Nygaard-Andersen’s main focuses will be the US expansion of Entain, known as GVC Holdings until a name change last month. The relaxation of betting restrictions by the US supreme court has triggered a dash to corner the potentially lucrative market, where Entain and MGM already run a joint venture.

Nygaard-Andersen, a Danish national, joined the Entain board as an independent non-executive director in 2019. She has previously chaired Danish e-sports team owner Astralis, and had senior executive roles at Modern Times Group, a Swedish media firm that also has e-sports interests.

She said: “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 also said she was committed to “industry-leading levels of player protection”. Betting companies including Entain’s Ladbrokes Coral brand have faced persistent criticism that their businesses fuel gambling addiction.

Barry Gibson, Entain’s chairman, said Nygaard-Andersen was an “outstanding candidate and ready-made CEO”.

The other women serving as chief executive of FTSE 100 companies are: Emma Walmsley at GlaxoSmithKline; Liv Garfield at Severn Trent; Alison Brittain at Whitbread; Alison Rose at NatWest Group – the former Royal Bank of Scotland boss; and Milena Mondini de Focatiis, who took over at insurer Admiral at the start of the year.

ITV is led by Carolyn McCall, but the broadcaster dropped out of the FTSE 100 index in the summer after the pandemic hit advertising revenues.

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Nygaard-Andersen will take over after a uniquely turbulent year in which the bookmaker has had to reorient its business away from betting shops, which have been closed under coronavirus pandemic regulations for large periods since March, and towards online gambling.

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 boomed by 41% year-on-year during the quarter.

Over the course of 2020 Entain’s revenues were flat compared with the previous year, and the company expects to make between £825m and £845m for the year, according to one measure of profitability. Revenues from the MGM joint venture more than doubled in 2020.


Jasper Jolly

The GuardianTramp

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