Europe’s Kindred Group Sees Four Top Executives Resign This Month

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Kindred Group, the Swedish-based company behind betting brands Unibet and 32Red, has seen two more executives depart this week.

Chief marketing officer Elen Barber and chief commercial officer Anne-Jaap Snijders were announced on Monday as departing. That follows the unexpected departures of CEO Henrik Tjärnström and Chief Financial Officer Johan Wilsby earlier this month.

The four executives had multiple decades of experience at the company. Recently, they took key roles in a group-wide strategic review that took place earlier this year.

This week, the company also announced the commencement of its share buyback mandate, discussed at an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders earlier in the month.

Share buyback programs are usually a sign of a company that has cash on hand, but is looking to make the business more attractive to potential investors.

Effective Immediately

Last week, the resignations began at Kindred with the departure of its Chief Financial Officer Johan Wilsby. His departure won’t be enacted until later in the year.

“Kindred is a dynamic company and Johan has been instrumental in developing the Group’s corporate function, the strategic execution, as well as contributing to the Executive leadership team,” said Tjärnström at the time.

So far, nothing hugely unusual. However, that news was then followed by the resignation of Tjärnström himself just two days later. No reason was given for the CEO’s resignation in the official press release.

Outgoing Tjärnström did not even give a full departure statement. “I am very pleased with the Board of Directors’ choice of Nils Andén as the interim CEO, guaranteeing a smooth hand over,” was his only comment.

It is relatively rare for a CEO of a major company to resign so abruptly with so little information released. Especially after 13 years in the role, and just days after the departure of another key executive.

Maximizing Value

If four board departures, an extraordinary general meeting, and a share buyback plan doesn’t quite mean a company in crisis, it does seem to signal some sort of big internal shakeup at Kindred.

“The Board of Directors will consider all potential alternatives that can deliver value for the Company’s shareholders,” the company said in an official press release after its recent strategic review.

“Such alternatives could include a merger or sale of the Company (in whole or in part), or other possible strategic transactions.”

The buyback share plan will cost the Group some $253 million. That indicates a substantial cash pile, but clearly the company is concerned shareholders aren’t making enough profit.

Kindred’s stock prices have remained stable throughout this month of shocks. On May 22, Kindred shares were trading on the Stockholm NASDAQ at SEK 126.10 or $11.93. That’s down only $0.03 on a week earlier, before the wave of board resignations began.

Kindred operates the Unibet brand in the US across four legal states. This month, it received regulatory approval to roll out its upgraded proprietary online casino platform in New Jersey, and it also launched the first Unibet physical sportsbook in Washington state.

2022 saw it exit the Iowa sportsbook market, with its Unibet brand performing 17th out of 18 operators over the year.

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