Ladbrokes Chief Executive Chris Bell Steps Down After 9 YearsJanuary 12, 2010 8:53 am
Chief executive Chris Bell has mutually agreed with betting company Ladbrokes to leave his post this summer, after the company decided it was “an appropriate time to seek new leadership for the business”.
Mr Bell (52) started his career with Ladbrokes as a marketing director in 1991, and by 2000 had become the company’s chief executive. Mr Bell proved to be a sturdy head of the company particular during a time of major upheavals in the industry, such as tax and regulatory changes, as well as the internet betting explosion.
However, Mr Bell had come under pressure over the past 12 months for a number of reasons, including unimpressive trading figures, and investor concerns following the profit warning issued by the company while launching a £275 million equity issue. Commenting on Bell’s exit, analyst James Hollins from Daniel Stewart said:
“Our key issue with the management has been a lack of international growth in its online division, while Bell has probably become more famous for his arrogance surrounding his decision to ban Ladbrokes staff from using British Airways following a personal dispute with the airline.”
In 2009, Mr Bell was payed a basic wage of £617,000, but bonuses and sundries included meant he actually received £2.04m. As he makes his preparation to leave the company in the summer, the hunt is now on to find a replacement, with Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine, commenting:
“The board is currently engaged in the search for a new chief executive to fully capitalise on Ladbrokes’ brand strength and position the company for a new era of profitable growth.”
Ladbrokes’ finance director Brian Wallace, and Ladbrokes’ internet gambling operations head John O’Reilly, are both widely believed to be in the running for the chief executive position.
Ladbrokes shares rose slightly on Bell’s announcement, and are currently trading at 146.30p, up 1.30p on the day so far.