Home > Strategy > Entain awards 846,067 shares to interim CEO David and deputy CEO Wood

Entain awards 846,067 shares to interim CEO David and deputy CEO Wood

| By Kyle Goldsmith
Entain has awarded a combined 846,067 shares to Stella David, its interim chief executive, and Robert Wood, chief financial officer and deputy chief executive.
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David, who took over as Entain’s interim chief executive in December following the departure of former CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, has been awarded 526,626 shares of €0.01 each. This is under the business’ 2017 Long Term Incentive Plan (LTIP).

Wood, meanwhile, has been awarded 307,202 shares of €0.01 under the LTIP rules. These awards are expected to vest on 11 March 2027.

The LTIP payments are subject to continuous employment, as well as satisfaction of certain financial targets which will be revealed in Entain’s 2023 Annual Report. This report is set to be published on 22 March. There will be a two-year post-vest holding period placed on the post-tax number of shares vesting from the LTIP awards.

Entain has also awarded Wood 12,239 shares, again worth €0.01 each, for his 2023 bonus under the business’ Annual and Deferred Bonus Plan (ADBP). According to the company’s remuneration policy, 50% of executive directors’ annual bonuses are to be deferred in shares. Wood’s ADBP shares are expected to be awarded on 11 March 2027.

Crucial 2024 for Entain

A turbulent 2023 set Entain up for an eventful 2024, as it looks to steady the ship.

A settlement with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the UK, relating to Entain’s historical activities in Turkey, set out a £585m (€684.4m/$748.2m) financial penalty. Entain will also pay a charitable donation of £20.0m and contribute £10.0m to CPS and HMRC costs.

Just days after the settlement was announced, chief executive Nygaard-Andersen left her role with immediate effect. Entain is currently searching for Nygaard-Andersen’s permanent successor.

Nygaard-Andersen’s exit came alongside mounting pressure over her mergers and acquisitions strategy. Entain acquired Polish sportsbook operator STS Holding in August 2023, before also finalising its purchase of Angstrom Sports in October. While those two deals were outlined as beneficial by Nygaard-Andersen, she had left the company before the full potential of the moves could be reached.

Activist hedge fund Corvex Management, which acquired a 4.4% stake in Entain in December, described Nygaard-Andersen’s departure as a “necessary” first step. However, Corvex also called for further changes following an “unacceptable” recent performance by the group.

Entain reports hefty 2023 loss

With the HMRC and CPS settlement factored in, Entain reported a net loss of £936.5m for 2023. This is despite an 11.1% rise in net gaming revenue (NGR).

NGR for 2023 climbed to £4.8bn, while group revenue also rose 11% to £4.8bn. Entain noted that revenue was higher across all core business segments.

However, higher spending more than offset the revenue growth, leaving the group with a net loss for 2023. Other expenses affecting Entain over the year included increased impairment costs, amortisation of acquired intangible assets and restructuring spending. Combined, these expenses pushed Entain to a net loss of close to £1bn.

Despite the loss, chairman Barry Gibson remained upbeat about Entain’s long-term prospects. Gibson explained 2023 was a year of “necessary, but ultimately positive, transition” for the company.

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