Paddy Power Betfair’s new chief shuffles the pack

Peter Jackson, appointed to the role on Monday, has already made changes at the top

Paddy Power Betfair’s new chief executive Peter Jackson

Paddy Power Betfair’s new chief executive Peter Jackson

 

New Paddy Power Betfair chief executive Peter Jackson, who was appointed to the role on Monday, has announced changes to the company’s corporate structure, marking his first major moves as head of the gambling giant.

The former Worldpay UK boss assumed the role from Breon Corcoran, who stepped down from the board on Sunday. Mr Jackson tweeted on Monday that he was “excited to wake up in Dublin for my new job”.

The departure of Mr Corcoran, who led the successful £7 billion (€7.9 billion) merger of Paddy Power with Betfair in 2016, was followed by a decision from Morgan Stanley to cut its recommendation on the company to underweight.

That was the first time it has taken a negative stance since the merger. Morgan Stanley said Mr Jackson would need to address “some major strategic issues”.

On Wednesday the company announced the appointment of Dan Taylor as chief executive of Europe, which is a newly created role, as well as Barni Evans as chief of Sportsbet, the firm’s operations in Australia. Both men will report to Mr Jackson.

Mr Evans’s predecessor, Cormac Barry, has quit to join Dublin-based travel technology group CarTrawler as chief executive officer.

Big loss

An analyst with Davy said the news of Mr Barry’s departure from Paddy Power Betfair was “unquestionably a loss to the group”.

The analyst highlighted Mr Barry’s “very strong track record” in helping to build paddypower.com and in leading Sportsbet as it more than doubled its share of the Australian online market.

However, the analyst said Mr Barry “leaves the business in very safe hands”.

He also said Mr Evans, who has been with Paddy Power since 2001, has “been responsible for some of the best marketing campaigns carried out by the group over the last 15-plus years”.

The company said Mr Evans had “played a key role” in Sportsbet’s success over the past seven years and was “ideally qualified” to lead the business.

He is currently Sportsbet’s chief commercial officer, having joined the business as chief marketing officer in 2011. Prior to that, Mr Evans was director of marketing at Paddy Power and has been with the firm since 2001.

Both men will work closely with the rest of the Sportsbet leadership team over the next few months to “ensure an orderly transition”.

The Davy analyst said the changes announced would not affect the group’s ability to acquire businesses in Australia in the near term.

“In Europe the organisational changes announced make a lot of sense, with a clearer streamlining of the Paddy Power and Betfair parts of the business,” he said.

Mr Taylor, meanwhile, will be responsible for the Paddy Power and Betfair brands across all channels and geographies outside of the US.

Mr Taylor was previously managing director of the company’s UK and Ireland operations and, before that, was managing director of Paddy Power Retail.