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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Further upheaval at Paddy Power Betfair as CFO Alex Gersh plans to leave

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The changing of the guard continues at Paddy Power Betfair after the bookmaker confirmed on Monday that chief financial officer Alex Gersh is set to leave the company.

Gersh joined the bookmaker in 2012, shortly after Breon Corcoran became chief executive, and was heavily involved in the group's transformation.

He is the latest high-profile departure from the group, the most notable being Corcoran, who left in January and was replaced by Peter Jackson.

Cormac Barry, who headed the firm's Australian arm Sportsbet, stood down in January while chief marketing officer Johnny Devitt has also announced he is leaving.

In an announcement made to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning, Paddy Power Betfair said: "Paddy Power Betfair notes media speculation regarding CFO succession and confirms Alex Gersh has advised the board he intends to step down from his position after six years with the group once a successor has been appointed.

"The board has appointed an executive search firm to assist with the process of appointing a successor."

Analyst Gavin Kelleher said Gersh's departure would be seen as a loss to the firm.

He added: "However, it is worth pointing out that following former CEO Breon Corcoran’s departure the group appointed a high calibre candidate in Peter Jackson to take the group forward. We would also highlight that Mr Gersh has put in place a high quality financial function within the group which leaves it well placed."

The firm's share price closed down 35p at 8,260p on Monday.

Gersh's departure comes as Paddy Power Betfair prepare to unveil their preliminary results for 2017 on Wednesday.

GVC snap up Georgian operator

Also unveiling their results this week are GVC Holdings, who have announced they are buying Crystalbet, one of the leading online gambling operators in the Republic of Georgia.

The move is the latest in GVC's shift in strategy to concentrating on more regulated markets.

GVC, who are in the middle of a takeover of Ladbrokes Coral, are to acquire an initial 51 per cent stake in Crystalbet for €41.3 million and the remaining 49 per cent in 2021 for no more than €150m.

Chief executive Kenny Alexander said: "Through access to GVC's content, technology and digital marketing skills, we believe Crystalbet can become a clear leader in the regulated Georgian market. This acquisition is in line with our stated strategy of being a truly global player, with a focus on regulated/regulating markets."

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He intends to step down from his position once a successor has been appointed
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