888 Holdings names Per Widerström as CEO

888 has seen major changes in its leadership.
888 has seen major changes in its leadership.

Lord Mendelsohn had been filling the role at the London-listed gambling operator which has been without a CEO since the departure of Itai Pazner.

UK.- London-listed 888 Holdings has named Per Widerström as its new CEO almost six months after Itai Pazner’s exit from the role. Widerström will assume the position on October 16 and will be responsible for leading the company’s portfolio, including 888, William Hill and Mr Green.

Over 17 years in the sector, he has worked in several senior roles, including as CEO of Central and Eastern Europe-focused Fortuna Entertainment Group from 2014 to 2022. He takes the role amid difficult times for 888 following its costly acquisition of William Hill’s European assets.

Widerström said: “I am delighted and honoured to become the Group’s new CEO. Following 888’s combination with William Hill, the Group has a world-class portfolio of betting and gaming brands, an outstanding technology platform, and an exceptional team. 

“Together these attributes mean it is exceptionally well positioned to become a clear global industry leader. It is incredibly exciting to be joining at such a key moment in the Group’s long-term development. 

“888 has a clear and attractive opportunity ahead of it and I am very much looking forward to getting started and working with the rest of the team to build on the strong progress already made and achieve the Group’s full and very exciting potential.”

Since Pazner’s departure in January, 888’s executive chairman Lord Mendelsohn had been filling the CEO role on an interim basis. Mendelsohn said: “We are delighted to be able to appoint Per following what has been an extensive and comprehensive search process. The Board unanimously agreed that Per was the clear standout candidate to lead the Group to build on the strong platform for growth and value creation that has been established.

“Per has extensive experience in both public and private companies, and a long track record with a proven ability to execute value creation plans.  As well as being an energetic and inspiring leader, Per brings nearly two decades of highly relevant industry expertise into the role. 

“He has a strong and proven track record of driving growth and delivering transformation programmes at multiple leading online gaming businesses, and the Board is very pleased to appoint someone with the skillset to deliver our objective to become a much stronger international multi-brand operator, leveraging our technology and data capabilities to drive an acceleration in growth.

“Per not only understands the power and exciting potential of the business, but the Board is also very pleased with his strong record and reputation on governance and compliance.”

The announcement comes shortly after the British Gambling Commission warned that an earlier plan to appoint former Entain boss Kenny Alexander to the position could lead 888 to lose its British gambling licence due to an ongoing investigation of allegations of historic bribery incidents when Entain was GVC Holdings. Also this month, 888 named Alexis Zamboglou as managing director of its UK and Ireland operations.

In June, 888 Holdings announced the completion of the sale of Its Latvian business, MrGreen.LV and WilliamHill.LV. It has sold the Latvian operations to Paf, the gambling operator owned by the regional government of Finland’s Åland Islands, for €28m.

Meanwhile, William Hill UK has reported its first annual results since its acquisition by 888 Holdings last July. Revenue was down by 0.5 per cent year-on-year at £1.24bn. Land-based revenue growth of 52.7 per cent to £514.2m largely offset a 19 per cent decline in UK online gambling revenue (£509.1m).

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