The UK online and land gambling group Gala Coral sprang a surprise on the market this week, announcing the unexpected departure of chief executive Dominic Harrison, who was appointed to the post two years ago. He will leave around October 1st.
Harrison's departure comes shortly after the ownership of the group changed. Last month Gala completed a tough restructuring that saw it cut its net debt by GBP700 million and shed its private equity owners in favour of Apollo, Cerberus and Goldman Sachs.
Harrison, whom The Telegraph newspaper reports joined Gala Coral in 2004 and worked for years in the shadow of his predecessor and chairman Neil Goulden, said that he had resigned to “seek new career opportunities”.
Commenting on his departure, the gambling executive said: “After six years with Gala Coral it is time to seek fresh challenges. I wish Neil and the rest of the team all the best as they take the company forward to the next phase in its development and ensure that it remains at the forefront of the sector.”
Market rumour is giving top odds on former Ladbrokes chief Chris Bell as a possible replacement for Harrison, although Goulden has discounted this….sort of…. by saying: “I think that’s unlikely because when he left Ladbrokes he signed non-competes. But never say never.”
In addition to his responsibilities as executive chairman, Goulden will take on the role of interim chief executive until a replacement for Harrison is found.
Goulden said, “Dominic has played a big role in the development of the group over the last six years and we are grateful for his contribution. He leaves with our thanks and best wishes for the future”.
Harrison (47) joined Gala from the Ladbrokes group, and has been a member of the Gala group board since 2005. He is a graduate of Oxford University and a qualified accountant. His early career was spent at KPMG, Diageo and the Bass Group with roles in Strategic Planning,