888 appoints Per Widerström as new CEO with strong compliance record

July 25, 2023
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Widerström was named the 'clear standout candidate' with omnnichannel and compliance experience.

Per Widerström has been appointed as the new CEO of 888 Holdings, after Itai Pazner announced his departure in January. The global betting operator, which includes brands such as 888, William Hill and Mr Green, will now be led by Widerström’s industry and C-level executive experience, which spans over 17 years in total.

Most recently, Per was at the helm of Fortuna Entertainment Group, as its CEO from 2014-2022. His experience particularly within the online gaming sector and omnichannel betting verticals may see 888 either deepen or expand its offerings in markets outside its European headquarters.

Lord Jon Mendehlson, who had stepped into the role on an interim basis, will now resume his role as Non-executive Chairman. Widerström also currently holds Non-Executive Director roles at Casumo Holding, Catena Media, Bokadirekt, Sambla Group AB, Turbotic AB and other gaming industry companies, but will stand down from his Casumo and Catena roles.

Lord Mendehlson referred to 888’s last six months as an “extensive and comprehensive search process.” He added, “The Board unanimously agreed that Widerström was the clear standout candidate to lead the Group to build on the strong platform for growth and value creation that has been established.”

The operator’s former CEO stepped down due to alleged impropriety surrounding his dealings in the Middle East, which were suspended and resulted in a compliance probe by authorities. Lord Mendehlson also commented that Widerström has a “strong record and reputation on governance and compliance,” which will hopefully offset these dealings, as well as give an advantage in the North American market.

888 appointed a new VP of North American Market Expansion, Ben Hurst, in May this year, shortly after a Q1 report that showed a 3% decrease in company revenue. The company’s stock price dropped sharply from £1.00 ($1.29) to £0.71 in correlation with Pazner’s resignation, and has experienced some highs and lows since, but now ultimately shows a 9% increase to £1.10 over the past six months.

Lord Mendehlson said of 888’s, and indeed Widerström’s plan for the future, “He has a strong and proven track record of driving growth and delivering transformation programs at multiple leading online gaming businesses, and the Board is very pleased to appoint someone with the skill set to deliver our objective to become a much stronger international multi-brand operator, leveraging our technology and data capabilities to drive an acceleration in growth."

Widerström himself has said of his appointment, “I am delighted and honored to become the group’s new CEO. It is incredibly exciting to be joining at such a key moment in the group’s long-term development. 888 has a clear and attractive opportunity ahead of it and I am very much looking forward to getting started and working with the rest of the team to build on the strong progress already made and achieve the group’s full and very exciting potential.”

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