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Ladbrokes owner Entain appoints first female chief executive

Ladbrokes owner Entain has appointed Jette Nygaard-Andersen as the first female chief executive of a major listed British gambling group.

The announcement, confirming a move first reported by Sky News, adds to the small number of women who are FTSE 100 bosses.

They also include Severn Trent’s Liv Garfield, Whitbread’s Alison Brittain and NatWest chief executive Alison Rose, plus GSK boss Emma Walmsley and Carolyn McCall of ITV.

Ladbrokes
Image: Betting shops have been hit by closures due to COVID-19 restrictions

Outside the FTSE but in the gambling sector, privately-owned bookmaker Bet365 is run by Denise Coates, one of the best-paid bosses in Britain.

The appointment of Ms Nygaard-Andersen, a Dane, comes days after US casino operator MGM Resorts pulled out of a takeover tilt at Entain.

The British-based company, which owns online brands Sportingbet and Foxy Bingo as well as bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral, had said that MGM’s initial £8.1bn approach significantly undervalued the business.

Last week, Entain – which recently changed its name from GVC – announced the unexpected resignation of chief executive Shay Segev, who is leaving to join sports streaming platform DAZN.

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Ms Nygaard-Andersen, a former executive at European entertainment company Modern Times Group, had been on Entain’s board since 2019.

Chairman Barry Gibson said: “We are extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding candidate and readymade CEO in Jette.”

Alison Rose succeeded Ross McEwan as chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland at the beginning of the month. Pic; RBS
Image: Natwest boss Alison Rose is one of the few other women FTSE 100 CEOs Pic: Natwest

The new chief executive will receive a basic salary of £750,000 plus bonuses, which could take her package to a maximum of nearly £4.9m.

She said: “I am very excited to have the opportunity of continuing the extraordinary momentum that Entain has in its existing markets, as well as helping it enter new regulated markets and reach new audiences.”

The announcement came as Entain reported a strong performance for last year despite a big hit to betting shop income due to COVID closures as online revenues took off.

The group said it had entered the new year with “good momentum” though the short-term outlook “remains uncertain”.

Entain has more than 3,000 betting shops under the Ladbrokes and Coral brands.

The group employs more than 18,000 people in the UK, roughly three-quarters of the global total.

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