Online poker giant PartyGaming announced today that it was parting company with the chief executive who led it through its landmark £4.64bn (€6.8bn) flotation.
The surprise departure of Richard Segal tempered joy at a 49% rise in annual earnings to $583.7m (€490m).
Mr Segal agreed to leave after turning down a request by the board to move to Gibraltar where the company is based. He has been commuting there each week since PartyGaming listed on the London Stock Exchange in June.
In a statement, PartyGaming said: “Given the rapid growth of the company, he and the board agree that the chief executive now needs to be located in Gibraltar along with all the other executive directors.”
Mr Segal joined PartyGaming in August 2004 after 16 years in the leisure industry with Rank which culminated in him leading the buyout and subsequent sale of Odeon Cinemas.
Today’s maiden annual results were described by Mr Segal as “cracking” and included a 63% rise in revenues to $977.7m (€822m) – driven by the ongoing growth in online poker and the introduction of blackjack.
Recent achievements have included the creation of a shared purse that allows gamblers to play across all its sites and the settlement of litigation with Empire Online, which included the $250m (€210m) purchase of business, assets and player databases of EmpirePoker.com and AceClub.com.
PartyGaming also fulfilled a pledge at the time of its listing to return $200m (€168m) to investors by awarding a final dividend of 5.25 US cents a share.