Personnel Moves - January 2023

February 2, 2023
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The chief executive of 888 has exited the company, MGM boss Hornbuckle retains federal advisor role, Australia's BetMakers shuffles executives and new Brazilian President Lula appoints key ministers.

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Europe

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Chief executive and executive director of 888, Itai Pazner, immediately left both of his roles in January. The group's non-executive chair, Lord Mendelsohn, is assuming the position of executive chair on an interim basis while the board searches for a permanent CEO. 888 also announced that the board and Yariv Dafna, CFO and executive director, mutually agreed that he will step down following the publication of the group’s FY2022 results. Dafna will now step down at the end of 2023, despite the company previously announcing he would leave by March 31.

Allwyn Group has appointed Clare Swindell and Neil Brocklehurst as co-chief executives to lead Camelot, which will continue to operate the UK National Lottery separately from Allwyn UK through to the end of the third licence in January 2024. Keith Mills is expected to be appointed as the new chair at the closing of the transaction, subject to regulatory approvals.

Allwyn confirmed that Robert Chvátal, currently Allwyn Group CEO, has been appointed to the role of interim CEO of Allwyn UK to help with the fourth licence of the National Lottery in the UK, which begins on February 1, 2024. David Craven has left the company. Camelot UK Lotteries chair Hugh Robertson is stepping down, as are the company's chief executive Nigel Railton and executive director Matt Ridsdale.

Racecourse Media Group, the umbrella organisation for 35 British racecourse shareholders and parent company of Racing TV, has announced Conor Grant as its incoming chair. Grant will initially join as a non-executive director on April 1 and then succeed Roger Lewis as chair on October 1.

Ola Enquist has been selected as the new CEO of Sweden's Casino Cosmopol and business area manager for Casino Cosmopol and Vegas. Enquist will be part of the group management for state-owned Svenska Spel. The new role will begin no later than June 2023.

Jeremie Kanter has been chosen by ComplianceOne Group as its new VP of regulatory and internal audit. Kanter will head up Diligence in Gaming, the regulatory and operational compliance arm of the company.

Malta-based supplier NeatPlay has appointed Carla Maree Vella as its new CEO. The former COO of betPawa and CEO of Optimizer Invest is also a veteran of major operator Betsson.

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North America

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MGM Resorts International CEO and president Bill Hornbuckle has been reappointed to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). With his reappointment, Hornbuckle will also continue as chairman of the TTAB. The board, which includes 32 members, advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce on how government policies and programs affect the travel and tourism industry.

Republican Governor Joe Lombardo has appointed Brian Krolicki to the Nevada Gaming Commission. Krolicki, former state treasurer from 1999 to 2007, and lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2015, will fill the seat vacated by Ben Kieckhefer, who became Lombardo’s chief of staff. The five-member Nevada Gaming Commission makes final decisions on licensing and other regulatory matters based on recommendations by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).

Lombardo also appointed George Assad to the control board, filling a vacancy created when Philip Katsaros did not seek reappointment. Assad was a Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge from 2002 to 2011 and will have a four-year term as a member of the control board. His appointment fills out the three-member NGCB.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has appointed Bruce Band to lead the commission’s newly established Sports Wagering Division. Band had served the MGC as assistant director of Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and Gaming Agents Division since 2014.

Ellen Whittemore has been selected as a non-executive director of Wynn Macau, replacing Matthew Maddox who stepped down on December 31, 2022 from his position as a non-executive director. Maddox served as CEO of Wynn Macau’s parent company, Wynn Resorts, between February 7, 2018, and January 31, 2022. Whittemore has been executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Wynn Resorts since July 2018.

Gaming equipment provider PlayAGS Inc named board member Adam Chibib as chairman. Chibib, who has been a board member of the company for five years, was formerly CFO of Multimedia Games, which is now part of Everi Holdings. Chibib replaces David Sambur, a partner at Apollo Global Management who stepped down from the board after serving as chairman for the past five years and as a member of the board since 2013.

Inspired Entertainment has promoted Brooks Pierce, its current president and chief operating officer to the position of chief executive. Pierce succeeds former CEO A. Loren Well, who was promoted to executive chairman of the company’s board of directors. Inspired said Pierce will continue in his role as chief operating officer.

Bally’s Corporation has appointed Tracy Harris as an independent member of its board of directors. Most recently, Harris was executive vice president, CFO and treasurer of MIB Group Holdings LLC, a start-up insurance industry technology provider. She currently serves as a board member for CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Cordish Gaming Group has named Joe Billhimer, executive vice president of Pennsylvania casinos, chief operating officer and development officer. Billhimer has spent more than 35 years in the gaming industry, including helping to develop Live! Casino properties in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. In his new role, he will oversee all daily operations at Cordish Live! Casino properties.

Fontainebleau Development president Brett Mufson has been named president and CEO of the Fontainebleau Las Vegas. The Fontainebleau is currently under construction and will open in the fourth quarter of 2023. Mufson will remain president of Fontainebleau Development.

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers has elected a slate of new officers to its board of directors, including Robert Parente as president. Parente, executive vice president and chief business development officer for Light & Wonder, succeeds David Lucchese, executive vice president of sales, marketing and digital at Everi.

In addition to Parente’s election as president for a two-year term, AGEM elected six other industry executives to one-year terms on the board. They are: Elaine Hodgson, president and CEO of Incredible Technologies; Luke Orchard, senior vice president and chief compliance and risk management officer at IGT; Tom O’Brien, president, Americas and EMEA for Aristocrat Gaming; and David Lucchese.

Hodgson, Orchard, O’Brien, and Lucchese will serve as vice presidents on the board. Thomas Jingoli, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Konami Gaming, was elected secretary, while Ryan Comstock, chief operating officer at Ainsworth Game Technology, will serve as treasurer.

Kimberly Pearson has been named CEO of Osage Casinos, replacing Byron Bighorse who recently resigned after eight years of overseeing the tribal properties in Oklahoma. Pearson, a member of the Osage Nation, is the first woman to lead the seven-property gaming and entertainment company, which serves as the primary funding source for Osage Nation programs.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the corporation conducting gaming on behalf of the province of British Columbia, has appointed Mark Goldberg as its new chief information officer and vice president of business technology. Goldberg most recently spent four years as vice president of information technology and global real estate and facilities at Hootsuite.

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Asia-Pacific

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Australian B2B racing and wagering listco BetMakers Technology Group has changed its top executives amid a sinking stock performance, with Tekkorp chairman and CEO and former NYX Gaming Group CEO Matt Davey named president and executive chairman and Jake Henson moving from COO to CEO. A bourse filing on January 31 said Davey, who returns to the board, replaced non-executive chairman Nick Chan, who remains a non-executive director, while Henson replaced company founder Todd Buckingham, who is off the board in the new role of chief growth officer for global operations. Davey stepped down from the board in April 2022 when BetMakers and Tekkcorp signed a deal with News Corp and the Matt Tripp-backed fund TGW to form the bookmaking venture NTD, trading as betr.

New Zealand and Australia casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group has appointed former Tabcorp Holdings CEO and managing director David Attenborough as a non-executive director, effective March 1 but pending regulatory approvals. The veteran gaming executive is currently a non-executive director of Australian superannuation fund Hostplus.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club on January 3 appointed Dennis Hau as executive director for customer strategy, insights and innovation. The Hong Kong and Canada-educated Hau joins the board of management and answers directly to the CEO. Hau previously worked for Tencent Music Entertainment and Oracle Corp.

Malaysian gaming machine manufacturer and distributor RGB International announced the promotion of financial controller Liew Yung Kuan to vice president, finance, according to a January 17 filing with Bursa Malaysia. Liew has been with the company since 2019 and previously worked for Ernst & Young and First Solar Malaysia.

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Latin America

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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s (Lula) newly appointed minister of finance Fernando Haddad has been busy fulfilling appointments in the ministry, all of which took effect on January 1. Marcos Barbosa Pinto is the secretary of economic reforms. He is a lawyer by training who previously worked as an advisor to the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) during the first Lula administration.

Additionally, Bernard Appy is the new special secretary for tax reform. He is an economist who served in Lula’s first presidential administration as the secretary of economic policy. Rogério Ceron is treasury secretary. Ceron was Fernando Haddad's secretary of finance when he served as the Mayor of São Paolo. Robinson Barreirinhas is the federal revenue secretary. He is another appointment from Haddad’s time as mayor.

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The chief executive of 888 has exited the company, MGM boss Hornbuckle retains federal advisor role, Australia's BetMakers shuffles executives and new Brazilian President Lula appoints key ministers.

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