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Michael Hazel to leave Rational following CEO appointment

The

Amaya
Rational Group has announced its interim CEO Michael Hazel is to leave the PokerStars owner and that Rafi Ashkenazi will take over as CEO on Monday.

It was announced in October that provider Amaya Gaming, which acquired Rational when it purchased Oldford Group for $4.9bn last year, would have to separate itself from four individuals on or before January 30 next year in order to operate its Stars and Full Tilt brands in New Jersey, after being granted regulatory approval to operate the brands in the state by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

The four individuals were not revealed, but Hazel was mentioned as one of four senior executives in positions at Amaya entities managing the Stars/Full Tilt assets that were the subject of plenary investigations conducted by the DGE.

The reason for Amaya having to part company with the four employees is for the involvement of those four in the activities of the Stars entities between the enactment of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and Black Friday, when indictments against the then owners of Stars were revealed, in 2011.

Hazel joined Rational as director of financial planning and analysis in 2006, has been CFO since 2012 and took over as interim CEO following the completion of Amaya’s deal to buy Oldford Group, which was announced as being finalised in August last year.

Ashkenazi became Rational COO in 2013, having previously been COO of provider Playtech and moved positions to be Amaya’s SVP of strategy in April.

Hazel will assist during a brief transition period before leaving the company.

Amaya said that Rational COO Israel Rosenthal, another of the four to be subject to the DGE’s plenary investigations, will continue in his role and will report to Ashkenazi.
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