Ladbrokes board discussed
replacing chief after profits
By Roger Blitz, Leisure Industries Correspondent
Ladbrokes’ board discussed replacing chief executive Richard Glynn after a profits slump in the
autumn, the bookmaker’s chairman said as he warned that the company’s dire performance was
putting its credibility at stake.
Peter Erskine said he did not inform Mr Glynn of the boardroom discussion, which came as the
company battled problems on several fronts, including political pressure over problem gambling.
“The board took a hard, thorough look at whether to replace the management,” adding it would have
been “delinquent not to look at that”, Mr Erskine told the Financial Times.
The board stopped short of consulting headhunters, Mr Erskine said, but “we looked at every single
option that was right for Ladbrokes”.
Mr Glynn, whose appointment four years ago was overseen by Mr Erskine, remains under pressure to
turn round Ladbrokes’ ailing performance.
The company reported a 33 per cent fall in operating profit for 2013, and a 66 per cent decline in pretax profits – results described by Mr Glynn as “disappointing”.
Under Mr Glynn, Ladbrokes has been slow to develop an online business to compete with fleeter rivals
including William Hill, Bet 365 and Betfair.
He is under a deadline of the World Cup to put in place a digital platform and gaming products.
Mr Erskine said the chief executive was not living on borrowed time, and his strategy had the board’s
But he added: “We must get [growth] back to a minimum respectability to start winning credibility
back from shareholders.”
Retail woes shift odds for Ladbrokes
As if Ladbrokes’ online problems were not bad enough, the group must contend with gathering squalls around the mother ship of the
business, the retail shops and their lucrative digital betting machines, writes Roger Blitz.
But the group, which is heavily dependent on its retail business for profits, is also vulnerable to the
threat of tighter regulation of the shops’ money-spinning digital betting terminals.
The chief executive “hasn’t got any more chances”, Mr Erskine said.
“The shareholders did respect that he had chosen the right strategy.
He got back to it rather late . . . His pride is at stake, and that’s no bad thing.”
As for his own position, Mr Erskine said: “As chairman I led the search [for Mr Glynn], but the board