Gala Coral has begun the search for a “world class” chief executive after Dominic Harrison resigned in the wake of the gambling group’s restructuring and change of ownership.
Mr Harrison, who has been chief executive for less than two years, will step down on October 1 “to seek new career opportunities”, Gala Coral said.
Neil Goulden, the casino, bingo and bookmaking group’s executive chairman who steered it through the often fraught months of restructuring, will return, on an interim basis, to the role he held for four years.
According to insiders, Gala Coral’s new owners, a group of five creditors led by Apollo Management and Cerberus, have ambitions for the group and money to invest, with more than £200m ($304m) available in cash, including for acquisitions, and want someone at the helm to fulfil its potential. They also have long-term flotation plans.
“They want a world class chief executive to take this business forward,” said one insider. Headhunters have yet to be appointed and Mr Goulden is likely to hold the reins for up to six months before returning to the role of executive chairman. Insiders said Gala would not necessarily recruit a chief executive from the gambling industry, but were willing to look at people with experience in consumer-facing businesses.
Gala Coral’s search means that all three of the UK’s leading bookmaking groups will have changed their chief executives in the past two years.
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