'There's never a good time to leave': Paddy Power's boss has stepped down

Breon Corcoran has spent 16 years at the betting group.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of betting giant Paddy Power Betfair has stepped down.

In a notice issued through the Irish Stock Exchange, the bookmaker announced that Breon Corcoran told the company’s board of directors of his intention to leave the group.

A departure date has not yet been announced, but Corcoran is tipped to stay on until the end of the year, according to Davy stockbrokers.

Sky News had reported the move in recent days and there was further speculation in newspapers over the weekend.

He will be replaced by Peter Jackson, the CEO of FTSE 100 payments company WorldPay. He has been a non-executive director on the Betfair board since 2013.

Corcoran headed up the Paddy Power Betfair group since the two bookies merged in February 2016. Before that, he was CEO of Betfair and had served as chief operating officer at Paddy Power from 2010 to 2012. He has been a Paddy Power board member since 2004.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, and there is never a good time to leave,” Corcoran said, “but this the right decision for me and my family, and following the successful completion of the merger integration it is an opportune time for the business too.”

breon corcoran Outgoing Paddy Power Betfair boss Breon Corcoran
Source: Web Summit/Flickr

‘Earlier than expected’

In its statement, Paddy Power Betfair said Corcoran was “the major influence” in pushing the digital side of the business and developing its mobile offering.

Analysts at Davy said in a note that Corcoran’s move “has come earlier than most would have expected”.

It said the timing is “less than ideal” given that the full integration of the Paddy Power and Betfair businesses has yet to be completed, but was reassured by the fact that a successor has already been appointed.

“The gaming sector is likely to present Paddy Power Betfair with significant consolidation opportunities over the next 12 months,” pundits said, “which is why it is important that the transition occurs in as timely a fashion as possible.”

Separately, Paddy Power Betfair’s earnings guidance for the year is largely in line with analysts’ expectations.

The group will announce its interim results tomorrow for the first half of the year. It will report a sales growth of 9%. The guided earnings range for 2017 has been set at £445 million to £465 million.

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