Jette Nygaard-Andersen resigns as Entain CEO; share price reacts positively

Following increasing pressure and scrutiny, executive leaves industry giant after almost three years as CEO.

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Key highlights:

- Falling share price and pressure from activist investors left Jette Nygaard-Andersen in precarious position

- CEO's performance was personally questioned, while recent M&A and financial performance were scrutinised

- Stella David appointed as Interim CEO; Nygaard-Andersen became Entain CEO in January 2021

- Initial news prompted 5% bounce in Entain shares, which had reached a three-year low earlier in December

Jette Nygaard-Andersen's tenure as Entain CEO is over, following the announcement of her resignation with immediate effect.

Nygaard-Andersen had faced increasing pressure, with Entain shareholders and key investors failing to see a path forward given recent financial performance and what some deemed uninspiring M&A activity.

Nygaard-Andersen was appointed Entain CEO in January 2021 and has called time after just under three years in the position.

She is succeeded by Stella David, who was appointed as a Senior Independent Non-Executive Director at Entain in March 2021, and is also a Non-Executive Director of Domino's Pizza Group.

The past three years have been rewarding and challenging in equal measure – Jette Nygaard-Andersen

David takes the role on an interim basis, starting this week and remaining "until a permanent replacement has been found."

Issues for the Entain CEO culminated in a historic £585m ($737.4m) fine for the operator in November. Admittedly, these were due to historic failings that Nygaard-Andersen had no involvement with.

But the impact of the fine, along with public comments from Eminence Capital after Entain’s acquisition of STS Holdings for £750m, as well as from Sachem Head Capital Management and Dendur Capital (who were more specific in their critisism of Nygaard-Andersen), heaped pressure on the CEO.

Nygaard-Andersen reflected on her time in the role: "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.

We are all indebted to Jette for her dedication to steering the company through such a difficult time" – Barry Gibson

"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."

Meanwhile, David added: "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.

"I look forward to helping to build on the strong foundations for future commercial success that she leaves behind her.”

Entain Chairman Barry Gibson said: "We are all indebted to Jette for her dedication to steering the company through such a difficult time.

"She has also led the executive team in devising a new commercial strategy that I am confident will lead to stronger organic growth and a more profitable Entain. On a personal note, I am sorry to see Jette leave the business."

Entain's share price jumped 5% on the news of Nygaard-Andersen's exit, currently sitting at £8.35. It had dipped below £8 earlier this month, its lowest point since August 2020.


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