Richard Glynn, the embattled chief executive of Ladbrokes, is to step down from the bookmaker after five years in charge.
The move, which had long been predicted in the City, came as Ladbrokes tried to claim that Glynn had completed a five-year turnaround of the business, despite the company’s shares being 24% lower than when he started in the job. During that time, shares in rival William Hill have risen by 60%.
In a statement Ladbrokes admitted that Glynn’s “recovery programme has taken longer to deliver than initially anticipated” but insisted that it believes that the changes made are now “deeply embedded in the organisation and that increasing attention should now be focused on delivering sustainable growth from a much stronger operational and digital platform”.
Chairman Peter Erskine, who personally picked Glynn, added: “I would like to thank Richard for his leadership of the company and his considerable achievements in delivering a new digital future for Ladbrokes. He has devoted enormous energy and dedication to securing the transformation of the company and the benefits of that work are beginning to be seen. I am pleased that he will both see through the final steps of the implementation plan and be on hand to facilitate an orderly succession process. Ladbrokes has been transformed and is a far stronger company as a result of his work”.
The bookmaker said that, despite its claims that Glynn had completed the five-year job he had been hired for, it was still considering if he would receive a pay-off.
Shares in Ladbrokes rose slightly on the news, reflecting hopes that the change in chief executive would enable the company to finally start closing the gap on market leader William Hill and compete better in the growing online sector. “The feeling out there is that maybe a CEO change might change the fortune of the business in a positive direction,” Panmure analyst Karl Burns said.
Glynn had been tipped to be toppled for much of his spell at Britain’s second-largest bookie and a £4.6m pay packet revealed in March of last year – which was boosted by a £2.4m share windfall when Ladbrokes shares temporarily traded at more than 200p for a month – was quickly followed by a profit warnings caused by problems in its online business. The shares are now worth around 115p.
Ladbrokes reassured investors that it was trading in line with expectations for 2014 and was confident of progress next year. It said that Glynn had agreed to continue as CEO into 2015 to oversee what it termed an orderly succession, with the search for a new boss to start shortly.
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