New Sky Bet CEO as regulator clears Stars’ takeover

11 October 2018

Ian Proctor has replaced Richard Flint as the CEO of Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG) after the operator’s $4.7bn (£3.6bn/€4bn) takeover by The Stars Group was finally approved today (Thursday) by the UK’s competitions regulator.

Proctor, previously SBG’s chief financial officer, will step into a role that had been held by Flint for a decade. Flint will become executive chairman, while Conor Grant, previously director of SBG’s gaming brands, Sky Bingo, Sky Casino, Sky Poker and Sky Vegas, will be the new chief operating officer. Grant will report to Proctor, while both Proctor and Flint will report to Stars CEO Rafi Ashkenazi.

The CMA will publish a full explanation of its decision to rubber-stamp the deal next week. However, iGamingBusiness.com understands that there were no conditions attached to the "clean approval" by the regulator, which found "no concerns" after having halted the integration of the two parties in July.

Stars, which struck the acquisition deal with CVC Capital Partners and Sky PLC, said that its integration plans, including “the delivery of expected cost synergies”, would now be executed.

Ashkenazi has previously said that the takeover would “dramatically improve The Stars Group's revenue diversity, creating a balanced spread across poker, casino and sportsbook with a broad geographic reach".

Stars also confirmed today that it had appointed Andy Burton as senior vice-president of its global sports platform division, as well as Vaughan Lewis as group director of investor relations and corporate communications.

“We believe these appointments position us well to deliver our strategy to become the world's favourite iGaming destination,” Ashkenazi said.

Flint added: “I am confident that the new management structure, which includes an operational board for SBG, will allow us to maintain our unique culture that has delivered success over the years and continue delivering market share gains in the UK online betting and gaming market, building on our position as the UK's most popular online betting brand."

Proctor was appointed as SBG's chief financial officer in 2008 after having worked in a number of senior finance roles at Sky since the mid-1990s.

Grant, who previously worked for Paddy power, Blue Square and Boylesports, joined SBG in 2010 as the head of sportsbook products and director of products before becoming director of SBG's gaming brands in 2014.