Entain Plc, co-parent of the BetMGM family of brands, has announced the resignation of its chief executive officer, Jette Nygaard-Andersen. Nygaard-Andersen had helmed the company since 2021, and her resignation takes place with “immediate effect”, according to a disclosure filing from the company.
Entain’s board of directors has asked non-executive director Stella David to take over the CEO role on an interim basis while the company begins a thorough search for a permanent replacement. The company is one of the largest multi-channel gambling corporations in both the online and live markets.
Besides its BetMGM partnership with MGM Resorts, which includes BetMGM Poker, Entain solely owns numerous prominent gaming brands, including partypoker, bwin, Ladbrokes, Coral, Tab, sportingbet, Gioco Digitale, and several others.
Shareholders panned Nygaard-Andersen’s stewardship
Widespread dissatisfaction among Entain shareholders appears to have been a primary factor in Nygaard-Andersen’s departure, as reported by Reuters. Nygaard-Andersen accepted the CEO role in January of 2021 after her predecessor, Shay Segev, left the company after a brief six-month CEO stint. Since Nygaard-Andersen took over as CEO, the company’s stock price has tumbled nearly 40%.
Part of that valuation decline was due to the company’s recent settlement with the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service, in which the company agreed to pay £585 million in fines and profit disgorgement. The profit disgorgement was linked to a legacy bribery issue involving Entain’s operations in Turkey through 2017.
Nygaard-Andersen had no role in that matter, and the executives responsible for the bribery were later jettisoned by Entain.
“Under Jette’s leadership,” said Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, “Entain has executed a fundamental strategic shift towards regulated or regulating markets, overhauled its governance, transformed its operations, and significantly improved its customer offering.
“Jette’s decision to leave comes after the resolution of HMRC’s investigation into the Company’s legacy Turkish-facing business. She has offered exceptional leadership during what has been a hugely challenging period. It is no exaggeration to say that the HMRC investigation posed a number of threats to our Group. As the court  recognised in approving a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), had the matter not been resolved by way of a DPA, the consequences to the company and all of its stakeholders could have been disproportionate. The overhaul of the business model, strategy and culture of the Group in recent years was vital to securing the successful conclusion of a DPA process.”
Nygaard-Andersen’s departure has also energized rumors that Entain might now be more receptive to merging with or being acquired by its US-based BetMGM partner, MGM Resorts. Such a merger has been discussed for years, and a formal effort in 2021 by MGM Resorts to buy Entain appears likely to be revisited.
Featured image source: Entain Plc