- Jette Nygaard-Andersen has stood down after nearly three years in charge
- Non-executive director Stella David will become CEO on an interim basis
- Entain recently settled a four-year HMRC investigation into alleged bribery
Entain’s chief executive has resigned with immediate effect, bringing an end to a tumultuous tenure which recently included a settlement of bribery allegations.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen exits after nearly three years in charge, with non-executive director Stella David replacing her on an interim basis.
It follows the Royal Courts of Justice’s approval of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) between the company and the Crown Prosecution Service last week.
Departure: Jette Nygaard-Andersen (pictured) has stood down with immediate effect as Entain’s chief executive after nearly three years in charge
The deal ended a four-year investigation by HM Revenue & Customs into a Turkish-facing business sold by the Ladbrokes owner in 2017, which involved the activities of ex-employees and third-party suppliers.
Entain, previously known as GVC Holdings, was accused of failing to have sufficient procedures to prevent bribery.
As part of the DPA, the group will pay a £585million penalty to HMRC, plus £10million towards the costs of the case, and make a £20million charitable donation.
The Gibraltar-based firm told investors that ‘the consequences to the company and all of its stakeholders could have been disproportionate’ had a DPA not been agreed.
Its chairman, Barry Gibson, said Entain was ‘indebted to Jette for her dedication to steering the company through such a difficult time.
‘She has also led the executive team in devising a new commercial strategy that I am confident will lead to stronger organic growth and a more profitable Entain. On a personal note, I am sorry to see Jette leave the business.’
Nygaard-Andersen became the first woman to run a London-listed gambling firm when she joined Entain at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2021.
In her first year, Entain rejected takeover bids from casino operator MGM Resorts and sports betting provider DraftKings, despite the latter group putting forward a £16.2billion offer, double the size of MGM’s proposal.
During that period, Entain continued achieving consistent double-digit quarterly online sales growth whilst also seeing footfall rebound significantly at its high street outlets after lockdown curbs started to loosen.
Yet over the past two years, the company’s trade has been impacted by a slowdown in digital gambling, as well as stricter regulatory measures aimed at curbing addiction rates.
In its most recent financial results, Entain blamed ‘customer-friendly’ sports results for pro-forma online gaming revenues declining by 6 per cent in the three months ending September.
More recently, the group has come under pressure from activist investors concerned about Entain’s weak performances across regulated markets and its share price, which has slumped by more than 40 per cent over the last 12 months.
Entain shares responded positively on Wednesday morning, rising 4.3 per cent to 840.4p, making them the top riser on the FTSE 100 Index.