Shares fall in Paddy Power as betting firm’s boss steps down unexpectedly

Shares in Paddy Power Betfair fell more than 8% during yesterday on the unexpected news that Breon Corcoran was stepping down as CEO, a day before the company’s half year results.

Shares fall in Paddy Power as betting firm’s boss steps down unexpectedly

Weekend rumblings that a change may be imminent came to pass, with shares dropping over 8% in London, though recovering some of these loses late yesterday. This extends a 25% drop since last year’s merger of Paddy Power bookmakers and the Betfair exchange.

The firm’s chairman, Gary McCann, said it had begun a search for a successor “some months ago” after Mr Corcoran laid out his long-term plans. The firm said the CEO of the UK arm of global payments business WorldPay, Peter Jackson, would take over from Mr Corcoran, who will stay on as boss until an “orderly transition” is complete. There was no indication of a firm start date for Mr Jackson.

A native of Mullingar, Mr Corcoran’s departure creates new doubts as the firm faces multiple challenges to its growth prospects.

Competition in the online betting industry is tougher than ever, while companies also face increasing regulatory and tax burdens.

Mr Corcoran said it was a hard decision to make, but that the company had a “very bright future”.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, and there is never a good time to leave, but this is the right decision for me and my family, and following the successful completion of the merger integration it is an opportune time for the business too,” he said.

Mr Jackson is set to leave Worldpay only five months after joining from Banco Santander, where he was head of global innovation.

He has been a non-executive director of Paddy Power since 2016 and prior to that served as a non-executive director of Betfair Group since 2013. He said he was stepping into a role with a company that had “great prospects”.

Davy said the announcement was “earlier than most would have expected” and the timing was “certainly less than ideal given the particularly noisy regulatory backdrop at present”.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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