Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen Resigns Amid ‘Internal Unrest’ Rumors

Posted on: December 13, 2023, 08:44h. 

Last updated on: December 13, 2023, 11:08h.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, the CEO of Entain (OTC: GMVHF), stepped down Wednesday after almost four years at the helm of the online gambling giant.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain
Jette Nygaard-Andersen has resigned from the role she held since January 2021, to be replaced in the short term by interim CEO Stella David, the online gambling giant said Wednesday. (Image: Entain)

The Danish executive’s resignation came amid disgruntled noises from activist investors, many of whom are dissatisfied with the company’s recent performance and who have questioned a series of misfiring acquisitions and missed opportunities.

It also comes just weeks after Entain agreed to pay a £585 million (US$729 million) penalty to HMRC, the UK tax authority. That was to settle historic bribery accusations related to the company’s former black-market Turkish operations.

The past three years have been rewarding and challenging in equal measure,” Nygaard-Andersen said in a statement Wednesday morning. “The resolution of the HMRC investigation into the legacy business, which was sold by a former management team in 2017, offers a clean inflection point for me and for Entain.

“The group is now safe, stable, and sustainable, and I believe that this is the right time to move on to other business and career opportunities,” she added.

Share Slump

Nygaard-Andersen landed the role in January 2021, shortly after Entain rejected a takeover bid by MGM Resorts International, with whom it jointly owns BetMGM in the U.S.

The $8.1 billion MGM proposal valued the company at £13.83 a share. On Wednesday afternoon, it was worth just £8.43, and that’s after climbing 5% on the news of Nygaard-Andersen’s resignation. In October 2021, a takeover bid by DraftKings also fell through.

In recent weeks, The Financial Times has reported “internal unrest” at Entain over Nygaard-Andersen’s management of the company, which has been one of the poorest recent performers for shareholder returns on the FTSE 100.

The company has spent $2 billion on largely regional-market acquisitions under her tenure, many of which have performed badly. Meanwhile, its U.S. operations with MGM have failed to loosen DraftKings’ and FanDuel’s stranglehold on the market.

‘Private Jette’

Corporate costs have almost doubled, and there have been raised eyebrows about Nygaard-Andersen’s penchant for travel by private jet, according to the FT. This has led to some Entain staffers nicknaming her “Private Jette,” insiders report.

Entain has asked Stella David, a nonexecutive director, to stand in as CEO on an interim basis until a permanent replacement for Nygaard-Andersen is found.

Under Jette’s leadership, Entain has executed a fundamental strategic shift towards regulated or regulating markets, overhauled its governance, transformed its operations, and significantly improved its customer offering,” Entain chair Barry Gibson said in a statement.

Gibson praised Nygaard-Andersen’s “exceptional leadership” during a “hugely challenging period.”