Playtech Names Interim Chairman, Postpones Hunt for Permanent One

Playtech's CEO Bonus Scheme Could Prompt New Shareholder Revolt

Gambling technology giant Playtech has postponed the search for a replacement for Chairman Alan Jackson a year after the company announced his departure.

The provider of technology for the global betting and gaming sectors will reportedly appoint Non-Executive Director Claire Milne as interim Chairwoman.

Mr. Jackson is set to step down from his role at Playtech on May 20. He joined the company’s board in 2006 when Playtech floated on London’s AIM market.

Mr. Jackson then stepped in as Chairman in 2013. His departure was announced in May 2019 shortly after reports had emerged that Playtech shareholders were urged to vote against his re-election at the company’s General Annual Meeting.

The tech provider’s investors had turned sour on the company due to a remuneration package that awarded an 18% bigger base salary and 46% larger pension contributions to CEO Mor Weizer. The executive earned a base salary of €1.13 million in 2018, up from €950,336 in 2017.

Playtech’s shareholders had also grown impatient over other corporate governance reforms and bonus plans that saw the company’s Chairman, Mr. Jackson, receive £442,889 for 2018 and be treated to a company car.

Mr. Jackson and his Board had been subjected to heavy criticism by Playtech’s financial backers for not doing enough to make sure that Platech revised its remuneration policy in the face of two profit warnings published by the company due to increased competition and regulatory issues in core Asian markets.

Interim Replacement to Receive Significantly Less Money

Ms. Milne will reportedly be paid significantly less than Mr. Jackson, in line with what Chairmen at other FTSE250 companies get.

Playtech’s new interim Chairwoman formerly served as Chairwoman of the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and is a partner at Isle of Man law firm Appleby. She has been serving as a Non-Executive Director at Playtech since 2016.

Playtech is believed to have put its search for a new permanent Chairman on hold due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The company said in February that the succession process was “nearing completion.”

However, sources familiar with the process said that while the search had been whittled down to just two candidates for the Chairman role, has now been pushed back due to the ongoing health emergency that has gripped the world.

Playtech has been affected severely by the widespread closure of its clients’ betting shops and the cancellation of sports worldwide. In addition, it should also be noted that its B2C division in Italy, Snaitech, has too had to bring its operations to a halt and has been bleeding money.

The company has said that its board has decided to take a 20% cut in response to the current situation. In addition, it has suspended all shareholder returns, including dividends.

Playtech has seen its shares fall by nearly 50% since the beginning of the year. Shares in the company closed at 209p on Friday for a total valuation of £624.7 million.

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