Mr Green CEO Replaced by William Hill Executive
International Online Managing Director for William Hill, Patrick Jonker, will be assuming the role of CEO at Mr Green’s Maltese business. He will be replacing former CEO Jesper Kärrbrink, as part of William Hill’s expansion strategy following its purchase of a 92% stake in Mr Green earlier this year. This is the beginning of many changes at the Malta hub, which will become the base for William Hill’s so-called “integrated team”, geared towards long-term international expansion.
William Hill’s Dealings With Mr Green to Date
William Hill first revealed its intentions to absorb Mr Green, among other brands, in October 2018. This was a strategic move, one which the company hoped (and continues to hope) will eliminate its dependency on the UK market. Thanks to Mr Green’s convenient hub in Malta, and its remote gambling licences in Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Latvia, Malta and Denmark, it showed the promise to expand William Hill’s reach greatly. Speaking to Reuters at the time of the proposed takeover, William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said, “We get a ready to go international hub.”
He went on to explain that, in the run-up to Brexit, establishing such an international hub was paramount for the company. A sum of £242 million was offered to Mr Green on October 31st of 2018, and by February 2019 William Hill owned 98.5% of the company’s shares. This led to the compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares, culminating in a full takeover. William Hill has wasted no time and is quickly diving into the process of configuring its valuable Maltese base of operations.
How Things Are Expected to Play Out
A takeover of this scale obviously comes with much reshuffling and changes, and especially given the time pressure of an impending Brexit William Hill has been swift to enact some big moves within the company. It appears that the bulk of these changes were on the cards since William Hill first made its bid for Mr Green back in October. Jonker is not expected to assume his role as CEO until mid-March. In the meantime, former Mr Green CEO Per Norman will be accepting an advisory role as Chairman of eSports venture GLHF. Former Mr Green Ltd CEO, Jesper Kärrbrink, will be relocating to Sweden to accept an as-of-yet unknown role in Green Jade Games, which is owned by Mr Green.
”The past three years has been a fantastic journey with some of the most amazing people in the industry. I have planned to move back to Sweden for some time, so it is reassuring to know that the existing management team lead by Patrick Jonker as Mr Green Ltd’s new CEO will take the company forward to the next stage of the journey as part of William Hill. I look forward to continuing working closely with William Hill through Green Jade Games”– Jesper Kärrbrink , Former CEO, Mr. Green Ltd.
What This Means for William Hill Moving Forward
Things all appear to be moving in the right direction for William Hill. The successful purchase of MRG among others has elevated the company from a brand to a portfolio, and it can now enjoy the market power that provides. Furthermore, it will have a much wider reach across a variety of international markets. Speaking on the future of the brand, Per Norman said,
“The strategic and logic of the acquisition is obvious, strong brands and size are prerequisites for future success. I am excited to be engaged and follow the William Hill group through my board position in GLHF.”
Adding Mr Green to its portfolio is expected to increase William Hill’s digital revenue base from 24% to 35% pro forma, which is certainly nothing to be sniffed at. The group digital strategy of the ever-growing company is to be led by Chief Digital Officer, Ulrik Bengtsson, who noted,
“We are making a small number of senior changes but otherwise we aim to allow Mr Green to continue to do what it does best and grow internationally. We are very pleased that the Group will continue to benefit from the experience of Per Norman and Jesper Kärrbrink in exciting joint ventures in esports and game development. Patrick Jonker will lead the Malta team as it targets international growth opportunities.”
Time will tell if this massive move will secure William Hill’s success in the European market post-Brexit.