Thursday September 22, 2011 : Wray will retain a 10 percent stake in the business, but is on the way out
The UK business news site This Is London reports that Betfair co-founder and chairman Ed Wray is to step down as chairman on a yet to be determined date, retaining a ten percent interest in the company.
The news will come as an unpleasant surprise to investors who have seen the share price dwindle following the group's IPO, and an exodus of middle and senior managers that has included resignations by the Australian regional CEO Andrew Twaits, and the group CEO David Yu.
Wray has informed the market that the board is currently looking for a new deputy chairman to replace him when he departs; it is not yet clear whether he will remain on the board after leaving.
Wray said that the search for a successor to Yu, being conducted by executive headhunters Zygos, was progressing well. “We are confident that we will get a great new leader for the business and will update you on progress in due course,” he said.
Betfair shares listed at GBP 13 but have plunged to 715p. Among the top managers who have departed recently are chief product and services officer Mathias Entenmann, head of mobile Charlie Palmer, director of architecture, research and prototyping Matt Carter, director of UK sports and gaming Lee Cowles, and chief executive of financial betting exchange LMAX, Robin Osmond.
The company has also been criticised on the pay rises awarded to CEO Yu and finance chief Stephen Morana.
Speaking to investors at the company's annual meeting Thursday Wray said: "We look to the current financial year with confidence and a strategy that will cement our position as the leading online betting operator."