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Ladbrokes announces digital chief Jim Mullen as new CEO

19 March 2015

Ladbrokes has completed its three-month search for another CEO, announcing that it will promote its digital chief Jim Mullen, replacing outgoing boss Richard Glynn next month. Ladbrokes acquired Jim Mullen from rival William Hill in November 2013, where he later became managing director of Ladbrokes Digital, assisting to recondition the challenged online business, which has been a continuous struggle for the company for several years. Outgoing boss Richard Glynn announced his departure in December, having endured continues criticism and pressure from shareholders over the underperformance of Ladbrokes’ digital division, which as a result been falling behind its industry counterparts.

Profits from Ladbrokes digital operations have fallen severely in the past five years. He went on to become the Chief Executive Officer in 2010, establishing the digital business with a staggering operations profit of £62.7m, indicative of growth margins up by 70%,  compared to £14m in 2014.

With visible early trading in last week, their shares rose 1 % to 112p.The outcome indicating that the company was among the biggest fallers on the FTSE and post analysts expressed concerns of a dividend cut. Nothing that the bookmaker’s advanced promoting spend has been declining as an offer of income. HSBC said the procedure proposed “a limited way to ensuring the profit, or an item that does not merit spending”.

Peter Erskine, chairman of Ladbrokes said that Mr Mullen’s appointment followed an extensive recruitment search that saw many strong hopefuls as candidates. He further stated that since Mullen’s arrival into the business less than 18 months ago, he has without a doubt transformed their digital operations, showed strong leadership and created a solid team and achieved respect and confidence of his company peers, colleagues and the board.

Mr Mullen had been chief operating officer of William Hill’s online operations before making the move to Ladbrokes. It will come as no surprise that the market will be slightly disappointed with the internal appointment. An earlier statement made by Leisure analyst, Simon French from Cenkos Securities suggests that often in the gambling industry an extensive external search yielded an internal appointment. He goes on by saying “Whilst the removal of uncertainty regarding Richard Glynn’s successor is positive, we think the market will be disappointed that an outside candidate was not appointed. For us it is an indication that Ladbrokes is desperate for strong leadership and urgently so.”

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