Entain, which owns the Ladbrokes, Bwin and Partypoker gambling brands, is set to appoint non-executive director Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its chief executive after the surprise exit of the UK betting group’s former leader.
Ms Nygaard-Andersen would become the first female boss of a UK-listed betting company, taking charge swiftly after Entain’s rejection of an £8bn takeover proposal from US casino operator MGM Resorts.
She has more than 20 years’ experience in senior roles in media and entertainment, and formerly chaired Danish competitive gaming company Astralis.
Ms Nygaard-Andersen joined Entain when it was known as GVC in December 2019, and held senior executive roles at listed entertainment company Modern Times Group, where she worked for roughly 16 years.
The Danish national will take charge of Entain at a pivotal time for the gambling sector, which is seeking to take advantage of deregulation in the US that has encouraged growth in online gambling and sports betting in the country and spurred consolidation.
Its US rival Caesars Entertainment acquired UK bookmaker William Hill in a £2.9bn deal last year. Flutter, the group behind SkyBet and Paddy Power, is increasing its majority stake in fantasy sports company FanDuel, following a £10bn merger with Stars Group.
The appointment of Ms Nygaard-Andersen comes after Shay Segev’s decision to quit in order to join DAZN, the sports streaming platform owned by billionaire Leonard Blavatnik.
Entain said Mr Segev’s departure, after less than seven months in the role, had nothing to do with the MGM takeover bid, which the board rejected unanimously.
Barry Diller, who chairs MGM’s largest shareholder, IAC, has said he is “sceptical” about the company’s ability to succeed in its pursuit of Entain, which also owns Coral bookmakers. Entain and MGM have a joint venture in the US.
Mr Segev will become co-chief executive at DAZN alongside James Rushton, who replaced Simon Denyer last year.
DAZN, which has spent billions of dollars on the rights to broadcast top sports, from boxing to football, competes against ESPN and Sky but is considering an initial public offering. The lossmaking company will allow Mr Segev to fuse his “passion for sport and transformative technology”, he said previously.
The advanced discussions to appoint Ms Nygaard-Andersen were first reported by Sky News.
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