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Entain interim CEO Stella David will succeed Barry Gibson as chair of the operator upon his retirement later this year.

Gibson plans to step down from the role by the end of September 2024, or earlier, depending on the timing of the appointment of a permanent CEO. 

Entain said the search for a permanent CEO is “progressing well”.

Gibson was appointed to the board of Entain in November 2019 and became chair in February 2020.

 “It has been a privilege to lead the board of Entain for the past four years, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at this dynamic, exciting and innovative business, I reflected a little while ago that 2024 would be the right time for me to retire,” Gibson said. 

“I am delighted that, in Stella, Entain has an exceptional successor who knows the business well and has already proven herself to be a firm hand on the tiller in her role as interim CEO.”

Gibson’s tenure

Entain said Gibson played an integral role in the transformation from GVC to Entain, which has included a significant improvement in the quality of the group’s operations, revenues, governance processes, and procedures. 

However, during his tenure, the group also faced several challenges, including  a penalty settlement regarding alleged bribery offences at its former Turkish operations, as well as the exit of Jette Nygaard-Andersen as CEO.

The group also announced revised strategic priorities; focusing on driving organic growth, expanding online margins, and increasing US market share.

Entain added that under Gibson’s leadership the group has grown its EBITDA by over 50% to approximately £1bn in 2023, and its US joint venture, BetMGM, has gone from a start-up to being a $2bn revenue business.

Succession planning

“Barry has worked tirelessly to navigate the company through numerous challenges, and on behalf of everyone connected with Entain I would like to sincerely thank him for his enormous contribution to this business,” Entain senior independent director Pierre Bouchut said. 

“The board has been succession planning and reviewing potential options to replace him and we are delighted that Stella will be taking over as chair. 

“Her extensive board and chair experience as well as her time as interim CEO will be hugely beneficial to the board and the wider group as she takes on her new role,” Bouchut added.

David has been interim CEO of Entain since December 2023 having previously held positions as a non-executive director and senior independent director starting from March 2021.

She described Gibson as a “wonderful mentor and source of wise counsel”.

She added: “The fact that we now have a solid platform and a clear plan for future growth is due in no small part to his efforts.

“I am entirely focused on my role as interim CEO as we work to accelerate our operational strategy, and look forward to taking over the baton from Barry in due course.”

David is also a non-executive director of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and a non-executive director at Bacardi Ltd. 

Previously, she also served as CEO of William Grant & Sons and spent more than 15 years at Bacardi. 

Additionally, she has held leadership positions at C&J Clark Ltd, Vue International, HomeServe, Nationwide Building Society, and Domino’s Pizza Group.

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