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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Talismanic Corcoran will be hard act to follow as CEO

Breon Corcoran: a hard act to follow
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Jon Lees charts outgoing Paddy Power Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran's rise to the top

Paddy Power Betfair recognise that Breon Corcoran will be a hard act to follow.

The board appointed headhunters to conduct a global search for a "world-class" candidate to replace him, a search which ended in their own boardroom, where they found Peter Jackson.

Jackson is a successful CEO in his own right with an impressive CV, but he has not had the chance to build the reputation of a betting industry titan that Corcoran forged during his transformation of Ireland's Paddy Power and then Betfair.

Corcoran knew little of the betting industry before joining Paddy Power in 2001. His parents were both teachers and at university he studied maths.

He worked as a trader in London for seven years before striking out alone to test his entrepreneurial flair, but none of his efforts, including running a language school and scooter taxi service, were success stories.

He returned to Ireland having gained an MBA and used his interest in e-commerce to begin a ten-year stint at Paddy Power, overseeing its development as a digital operator.

He took over at Betfair in 2012 at a time when the betting exchange's flotation had been deemed a failure. Shares had slumped and the company had become bloated.

He made £35 million in cuts by shedding 500 jobs off Betfair's worldwide workforce. At the same time investment was prioritised on improving software and building a sportsbook.

Betfair rejected takeover attempts before Corcoran, under whom the share price had risen spectacularly, oversaw the merger with his old company which established the combined business as a mega betting brand.

Of his decision to step away, he told the Financial Times: "This move is really to avoid looking back in a few years' time and not having had the chance to do something else."

The question now is: Will his board have cause to look back at the loss of a talisman?

If you are interested in this story, you might also like:

Paddy Power Betfair shares slump as CEO Corcoran reveals departure

Paddy Power mischief-maker Robertson to leave bookmaker

Paddy Power co-founder leaves after 28 years

This move is really to avoid looking back in a few years time and not having had the chance to do something else
E.W. Terms
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