Ulrik Bengtsson quits Betsson AB role
Shares in Betsson AB are up 1.10% despite the unexpected news that president and CEO Ulrik Bengtsson has left the company with immediate effect. Bengtsson, who has been at Betsson for five years only took the reins of the top job last year. The company have not revealed the reasons for his shock departure.
Betsson AB are the largest internet company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and have over 1800 employees. Founded in 1963 they originally supplied fruit machines to business premises in Sweden.
Betsson would later enter the online gaming market and own over 20 brands such as betsafe, casinoeuro, Europe-bet.com and nordicbet. In the last published company accounts, Betsson had a revenue of over €400 million with an operating profit of €95.8 million.
Bengtsson was seen as an ideal fit for Betsson due to his background in digital consumer services. For three years Ulrik was CEO of the Pay-Tv Emerging Markets division at Modern Times Group which oversaw the merger of Nova TV and Diema TV, which created Bulgaria’s second largest commercial TV operator along with various new channels in Denmark, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Bengtsson has also worked for the Telenor group (TV, internet and mobile provider) and IBM.
Bengtsson oversaw Netplay acquisiton
Earlier this year, Betsson AB announced they had acquired interactive gaming operator NetPlay TV in a £26 million deal. Netplay assets included many brands familiar in the UK such as Jackpot247 and Vernons.
The deal to purchase NetPlay TV had been subject to the UK High Court of Justice giving the go-ahead for the deal. Betsson proposed several changes to NetPlay operations and management including taking ownership of NetPlay TV customer service and payment operations which had previously been outsourced to cut costs. The acquisition would also see Betsson and NetPlay offices merged to centralise operations.
Many British punters will remember Vernons as they ran a football pools service that started in 1925 and was second only to Littlewoods in the UK market. In 1994, the football pools were at the height of their popularity and over 10 million people regularly played, but the introduction of the National Lottery saw player numbers plummet to about 700,000. In February 1998, Vernons stopped offering a pools service and today Vernon’s website resembles many other sportsbooks with very little indication of its past.
The CEO duties of Betsson AB will be performed by Chairman of the Board Pontus Lindwall until a replacement can be found. In a statement released by Lindwall, he said:
Ulrik Bengtsson has done a good job for Betsson during the five years he has been employed by the Group. He has clarified the strategy and implemented significant product launches. On behalf of the Board and myself, I would like to thank Ulrik for his efforts.– Pontus Lindwall, Betsson Chariman