FanDuel Owner Flutter Talking to Former Kellogg CEO John Bryant For Chairman
Flutter Entertainment, the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 (FTSE) listed company and one of the biggest gambling operators in the world, may soon have a US-based chairman, reports UK media outlet Sky News.
Flutter, which owns FanDuel, Paddy Power, Betfair, and Poker Stars, among other international brands, is apparently close to appointing Australian-American John Bryant as its new chairman.
Bryant currently serves as head of Compass Group, as well as serving on the board of prominent US companies Macy’s and Coca Cola partners Ball Corporation.
Traditionally British-oriented Flutter has been listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) since its formation. However, back in February, they announced they were looking at moving their listing to the US. This news looks like a step further in its intentions to move to a more US-centered approach.
Yet to be Finalized
If Bryant becomes the new Flutter chairman, he will replace outgoing chairman Gary McGann, who has been in the role since 2014. He holds an independent role with the company under City of London law, which has a nine-year term limit that is set to expire at the end of 2023.
Not all is cut and sealed on the deal, though, with other unknown candidates potentially in contention. An inside source told Sky News that “Mr. Bryant’s appointment was at an advanced stage, but cautioned that it had yet to be finalized.”
The experienced Australian-American businessman has no direct experience in the gambling industry. But his resume comes with high-level experience in various industries, as well qualifications from Harvard and the Wharton School.
Flutter Entertainment throws its annual investor conference in April each year, so the timing makes sense for an announcement on its new chairman. This event will also see Flutter shareholders vote on the proposal to move their share holdings to the New York Stock Exchange.
Early signs from insiders indicate positive and supportive feedback from shareholders on the idea. The move would give them “access to much deeper capital markets and new domestic US investors,” and “better enable the recruitment and retention of US talent,” as stated in a press release from February.
It also highlights the growing importance of FanDuel in Flutter’s $26 billion portfolio. The popular US sportsbook is expected to become “the Group’s largest business by revenue and ever greater proportion of its overall value.”
FanDuel reached $2.6 billion in revenue in 2022, accounting for 34% of Flutter’s total revenue for that financial year. The Group believes it can reach $16 billion a year by 2030.
The appointment of a new CEO with decades of experience in US business fits with that aim.
Experienced board member and Brit Andy Higginson was long considered the favorite to replace outgoing Chairman Gary McGann at Flutter. However Higginson stepped down in 2022 to become chairman of sports retailer JD Sports.
Understandably, the potential departure of a multi-billion international corporation from British to US shores has got the UK government in a flutter.
The British economy has suffered more than most large economies in Europe over the past few years, and the London Stock Exchange is not as attractive as it once was to big business.
SoftBank, one of the biggest computer chip manufacturers in the West, recently chose to go public in New York over London. That was despite million in public funding.
If Flutter departs the LSE, while switching their outlook to US with an American chairman, the UK will lose influence over one of its top 30 biggest companies in the process.