(Reuters) -Ladbrokes owner Entain (LON:)’s CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen will step down immediately, the sports betting giant said on Wednesday, following reports that some shareholders were unhappy with her leadership.
The departure comes a week after the firm received final approval from a British judge for a costly 585 million pound ($732.4 million) settlement stemming from alleged bribery offences at the group’s former Turkish unit, concluding an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) probe that began in 2019.
The company did not specify reasons for Nygaard-Andersen resignation.
Shares in the firm were about 4% higher in morning trade, topping the blue-chip index.
Stella David, currently a non-executive director, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found, Entain said.
Nygaard-Andersen, 55, was appointed as CEO in January 2021 and played an instrumental role in driving the company’s growth and strategy amid a tough regulatory environment.
Britain is stepping up efforts to crack down on problem gambling and earlier this year set out long-awaited plans with an aim to bring regulations up to date with a rise in betting online and on smartphones.
Shares in Entain touched a record high of 2,500 pence in September 2021, but are down 35% overall since Nygaard-Andersen took the helm.
Last week, the Financial Times reported the problems hanging over Nygaard-Andersen amid a slump in share price, mounting regulatory pressures and growing discontent among certain investors.
“The CEO leaving could make it easier for Entain to enter into M&A negotiations with the likes of MGM, or even Draftkings,” analysts at Investec said.
“However, the interim period with lack of a permanent CEO could also be unhelpful, and the operational trends for the next 12-18 months remain lacklustre,” they added
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