Entain turns to former bosses of Coral and Sky Bet | in search of next boss Business News

Entain, the FTSE 100 gambling group, has been rebuffed by the former bosses of bookmakers Coral and Sky Bet in its search for a new chief executive.

Sky News has learned that Entain, who owns Ladbrokes, has approached Andy Hornby, who now runs Wagamama’s parent company, and Richard Flint, who has a portfolio of roles, about the job.

According to industry sources, Dan Taylor, managing director of Flutter Entertainment’s international operations, was among the potential candidates for the position.

Entain, which is under increasing pressure from activist investors over its poor performance, declined to comment on Friday.

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Last month it was said that Barry Gibson, its chair, would retire later this year and be replaced by interim chair Stella David.

The company fired its former chief executive, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, late last year.

News of the contacts with Mr Hornby, a former chairman of HBOS and Boots The Chemist, and Mr Flint, who ran Sky Bet for several years, is not surprising given investor demand for a market leader with extensive experience in the gambling sector.

Mr Flint recently told Sky News business presenter Ian King that he was not interested in the job at Entain, despite having resigned as a non-executive director of Flutter.

“Ignore what other bookmakers say or what odds they put out there – I’m really enjoying the package of things I have at the moment,” he said.

Entain, whose shares have almost halved in the last 12 months, has hired bankers to sell PartyPoker and other non-core businesses.

In addition to Ladbrokes, Entain owns Coral and a stake in BetMGM, a major US betting operator.

Entain has been going through a difficult period as activists have built an increasingly prominent position on its share registry.

The company has faced a barrage of regulatory issues that have drawn sharp criticism of its governance and business practices.

Shares in Entain were trading at around 797.4p on Friday afternoon, giving the company a market capitalization of £5bn.

Mr Hornby could not be reached for comment.

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