Another Labour Party figure takes up a role in the gambling industry.
UK.- 888 Holdings has appointed the Labour Party peer and lobbyist Lord Jon Mandelsohn as its new chairman.
He will also be named as a non-executive director of the sports betting and igaming company, and will join the remuneration and audit committees.
He is the second high-profile former Labour MP to take up a role in the UK gambling industry in the past week, following the appointment of the party’s former deputy leader Tom Watson as an adviser at Flutter.
Mandelsohn has been a Labour peer since 2013 and was the party’s Director of General Election Resources under Gordon Brown in 2007. He played a key role in Tony Blair’s election campaign in 1997.
He is also co-founder of corporate finance advisors Oakvale Capital which specialises in gaming, gambling and sports and has advised companies such as Penn Gaming in the US, Stars Group and BetVictor.
Back in 1997 he co-founded LLM Communications, a lobbying firm with close access to the new Labour government. He has been a spokesman and lobbyist for the gambling company PartyGaming.
Observers note that Lord Mendelsohn’s political networking expertise could be a potentially valuable asset to the company at the UK government looks to make sweeping changes to gambling regulation.
He will join Gibraltar-headquartered 888 to replace outgoing chairman and former chief executive Brian Mattingley, whose continuation in the position had been unpopular with some shareholders. Mattingley will leave 888 in May 2021.
More than 20 per cent of shareholders opposed his continued tenure at last year’s annual general meeting.
Lord Mendelsohn said: “888 is a company that I have long admired during my more than 20 years working with companies in the gaming and gambling industries.
“The group has a number of very exciting opportunities and I am looking forward to working closely with the board and the management team to continue to deliver the group’s growth strategy and generate further stakeholder value.”
Mattingley said in a statement: “It has been a great privilege to chair 888 and serve its stakeholders during more than 15 years with the group.
“I am personally very pleased that someone of Lord Mendelsohn’s experience and calibre will succeed me as chair and I look forward to working closely with him over the coming months.”
888 operates online brands such as 888 Casino and 888 Poker, Posh Bingo and Tasty Bingo.
It has a market capitalisation of close to £700m and has seen its shares rise by about 13 per cent over the past year.
Earlier this month, the company appointed Yariv Dafna as chief financial officer.