Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen Resigns
Jette Nygaard-Andersen (pictured) has resigned effective immediately from her role as CEO of Entain, the global gambling giant and 50% owner of BetMGM.
The company board has asked Stella David, a current nonexecutive director, to become interim CEO.
Nygaard-Andersen, who led Entain since January 2021, helmed the company through a series of challenging periods. Most recently, that included seeing Entain come under investigation from the UK tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, for its past operations in Turkey while known as GVC Holdings
This investigation led to an £585 million settlement paid to the UK taxman after a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).
“The past three years have been rewarding and challenging in equal measure. The resolution of the HMRC investigation into the legacy business, which was sold by a former management team in 2017, offers a clean inflection point for me and for Entain,” said Nygaard-Andersen in a company statement.
“The Group is now safe, stable, and sustainable, and I believe that this is the right time to move on to other business and career opportunities.”
Stella David Appointed Interim CEO
In the wake of Nygaard-Andersen’s departure, Stella David, a nonexecutive director at Entain, steps in as the interim CEO.
David, who has been a part of the Entain board since February 2021, is recognized for her extensive commercial leadership experience across multiple industries, including roles in retail and entertainment businesses like Vue Cinemas, Bacardi, Domino’s Pizza, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
“I have been a Director of Entain for almost three years, and have seen up close the extraordinary hard work that Jette and her team have put in overhauling the culture and practices at Entain,” said David following her appointment.
“I look forward to helping to build on the strong foundations for future commercial success that she leaves behind her.”
U.S. Market Key
Entain’s recent years have been marked by significant focus on the U.S. market, where its BetMGM joint venture has seen success, but also faces a mixed outlook.
In its Q3 2023 update, Entain reported that BetMGM held an 18% market share in U.S. states, a figure consistent with the previous quarter and only slightly ahead of the first quarter. In its Q1 report for the year, Entain showed BetMGM revenues had grown nearly 99% year-on-year.
BetMGM has set ambitious targets of achieving a 25% market share in the U.S. by 2026 and delivering $500 million in positive EBITDA.
With the total U.S. gambling market booming off the charts this year, that’s not a far-off possibility.
However, U.S. prospects also meant Entain leadership faced criticism in 2023 after spending nearly $1 billion to buy up Polish sportsbook operator STS.
That hefty investment in the European market came at time when many Entain investors would have preferred it to focus on its U.S. investments in BetMGM.
These challenges led global investment bank Goldman Sachs to downgrade Entain from buy to sell amid concerns over its growth, particularly in its online division.
Goldman Sachs forecasts Entain’s online growth to be negative in Q4 of 2023 and H1 of 2024, with a return to growth expected in the second half of next year. The report also indicated a reduction in earnings per share estimates for 2024 and 2025, suggesting a 30% decrease from previous expectations and noting a deterioration in free cash flow.
Furthermore, Entain’s global expansion strategy has seen BetMGM expanding into the UK market, but without Entain’s involvement.
Instead, MGM is working with LeoVegas, utilizing its technology and platform following MGM Resorts’ acquisition of LeoVegas for $604 million.
The departure of Nygaard-Andersen came without a confirmed reason. But whomever is given the next role at Entain will certainly have some big decisions to make in the near future.