Houst to depart as financial chief at OPAP

16 July 2019

Greek gaming operator OPAP has confirmed that Michal Houst is to step down as chief financial officer and deputy chief executive by the end of September.

Houst, who will also leave his role as an executive board member with OPAP, is exiting the operator in order to pursue other opportunities.

He has served as CFO at OPAP since 2013, shortly after joining EMMA Group as an investment director and playing a key role in the privatisation of OPAP.

In January of this year, Houst expanded his responsibilities by becoming deputy CEO of OPAP.

“I have genuinely enjoyed the last six years at OPAP and feel really proud to have had the opportunity to impact the radical transformation that the company has undergone over this period,” Houst said.

“I am confident that the already set foundations will allow OPAP to continue its successful path, adding value and further solidifying its unique position in the gaming spectrum in Greece and in general.”

OPAP’s CEO, Damian Cope, added: “I want to thank Michal for his major contribution to OPAP Group during the past six years. His relentless focus and personal dedication have played a critical part in OPAP’s development during this time.”

Houst began his professional career as a financial manager at JM Engineering before moving to PPF Group as a financial analyst. In 2010, he became chief banking analyst at PPF Russia, with a focus on Nomos Bank, and later went on to serve as project manager for the bank.

OPAP has already commenced the search to identify and appoint a successor to Houst and expects to provide further details in the near future.

Confirmation of Houst’s departure comes after it was revealed last week that Czech gaming and lottery giant Sazka Group has put forward an offer of €2.06bn (£1.86bn/$2.31bn) to gain full control of OPAP.

Sazka is seeking to acquire 67% of the shares in OPAP as it already indirectly holds a 33% stake in OPAP via Emma Delta, a business of which it is the majority shareholder, with a 66.7% stake.

In its offer, Sazka has set out how it would not intend to change OPAP’s current strategy and would continue to focus on maintaining the operator’s presence in the Greek market.

Sazka has said that should the deal go through the acquisition would represent the largest all-cash voluntary offer in Greece for more than a decade.