Fortuna CEO to join Catena Media board

22 February 2019

Affiliate giant Catena Media has appointed Per Widerström, chief executive of Fortuna Entertainment, to its board.

Widerström has been chair of the management board at Central Europe-focused operator Fortuna since 2014, having joined from Gala Coral Group.

Boasting more than 15 years’ of experience in the online gambling and betting sector, Widerström previously held senior roles at the likes of bwin.party and Expekt.com. He is also a non-executive board member at investment group Nordnet Bank

Widerström is one of two new additions to Catena’s board, with Göran Blomberg, chief financial officer at Swedish trade union group ICA Handlarnas Förbund, also joining.

Blomberg is also currently a board member at Swedish retail group ICA Gruppen, having spent over 30 years working in senior finance roles at several large public companies including food retail group Hakon Invest AB and clothing accessories stores company Retail and Brands AB.

Subject to a vote at the 2019 Catena Annual General Meeting, both Widerström and Blomberg will serve on its board until the 2020 AGM.

Meanwhile, Catena has announced that Henrik Persson Ekdahl and Andre Lavold will both step down from the board having declined re-election. Their decisions come as a result of Optimizer Invest, which the pair co-founded, reducing its shareholding in Catena.

Confirmation of the board reshuffle comes after Catena earlier this month posted an increase in revenue for 2018, up by 55% on a year-on-year basis to €105m (£91.5m/$119.0m). Sales were also up 36% to €27.3m, while earnings before tax and deductions increased 47% to €47.8m.

Speaking at the time, chief executive Per Hellberg said that the affiliate giant is not ready to turn it back on M&A opportunities, despite having signed off on more than 30 deals in its relatively short corporate lifetime. Catenas last M&As came in July 2018 when it purchased industry news website LeapRate.com.

Hellberg said: “The process of transitioning from a distinct acquisition strategy to an increased focus on organic growth is progressing and the results have already been favourable, with clear indicators that we are on the right path.”

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