Nigel Eccles Steps Down as FanDuel CEO

Posted on: November 21, 2017, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: November 21, 2017, 10:14h.

FanDuel founder Nigel Eccles has stepped down from his position as CEO of the daily fantasy sports (DFS) firm, saying that the time has come for him to pursue other opportunities.

Nigel Eccles FanDuel
Nigel Eccles was a co-founder of FanDuel and served as CEO until he stepped down from the post on Monday. (Image: Robert Perry)

Eccles helped found the company in 2009 with his wife and several friends in Edinburgh, Scotland.

From that early dream, Eccles turned FanDuel into one of the two major players in the DFS industry, alongside rival DraftKings. While it may have gotten its start in the UK, the business truly took off in the United States, with the company now having its headquarters in New York.

“Nigel achieved something remarkable – he completely redefined an existing industry,” the FanDuel board of directors said in a statement. “His passion, intelligence, and focus have been the bedrock of FanDuel’s success. We would like to offer our sincere thanks as he leaves to pursue his next venture.”

Eccles Moving On to New Esports Venture

While Eccles hasn’t said precisely what that next venture will be, he has dropped a few hints on his Twitter account.

“Excited but a little bit sad to be leaving @fanduel today,” Eccles wrote. “For me I’m building something awesome in eSports. Watch this space.”

This isn’t the first time that Eccles has expressed an interest in exploring esports. In fact, the idea may not be entirely fleshed out at this point, as he called it “just a thought in my head” in an earlier interview. However, he has said that he sees esports as an area where he may again be able to experience the explosive growth he enjoyed with FanDuel.

“Traditional sports are in harvest mode,” Eccles told Recode. “Esports are in growth mode.”

King to Take Over as CEO

Replacing Eccles at the top of FanDuel will be Matt King, who served as the Chief Financial Officer of the company from 2014 to 2016. He will immediately become the new CEO and join the board of directors.

“With his strategic vision, range of experiences, and broad skillset, I cannot imagine a better individual to steer FanDuel forward,” Eccles said of King in a statement. “With tremendous legislative strides in the past two years and the business moving into profitability in Q4, FanDuel is in a great position. I know Matt is the leader to capitalize on the momentum in the sports technology space to take FanDuel to the next level.”

Eccles’ decision follows the failure of the planned business merger between FanDuel and DraftKings. The plan, initially announced last November, would have put the combined business in control of 90 percent or more of the fantasy sports market.

However, the Federal Trade Commission voted 2-0 to prevent the merger in June. In July, the companies announced that they would no longer be pursuing the plan. Had the deal gone through, Eccles would have served as the chairman of the combined business.