Pazner to replace Frieberger as 888 chief executive

24 January 2019

888 has named Itai Pazner as its new chief executive, with Itai Freiberger to step down from the London-listed operator's executive team after eight years.

Pazner has spent the last 17 years with the online gambling operator, rising through the ranks to become chief operating officer in in 2017. Prior to this, served as senior vice-president and head of B2C for six years, where he oversaw the development of 888's various customer-facing brands, as well as having oversight of the operator’s marketing, customer support functions and operations.

Speaking about his new role, Pazner paid tribute to the impact the Frieberger has had on the business, saying he has been instrumental in 888’s growth.

"Itai Frieberger is hugely admired both within 888 and throughout the online gaming industry and he has been instrumental in the group's significant development over many years," he said. "I am very excited at the prospect of building on his work and continuing to deliver the group's clear growth strategy by further enhancing our technology and growing 888's presence across products and global regulated markets."

Frieberger will remain as a director of 888 for up to 12 months to support the transition of responsibilities to Pazner and to continue work on various strategic initiatives that are already in progress. He has held various senior roles at the operator over 14 years with the business, including eight years on its executive team as COO, executive director, then CEO from March 2016

Frieberger said it was not an easy decision to step down as CEO, but felt it was the right time for him to move away from the day-to-say running of the business, backing Pazner to succeed in his new role.

"I am very proud of what we have achieved during my time at 888," he explained. "The global online gaming industry has changed beyond recognition during this period but, despite this, the group has continued to achieve its strategic objectives and deliver for its stakeholders. This is down to the strength of our team and our outstanding technology."

"I believe that 888 today is one of the most diversified operators across products and regulated markets in the global online gaming industry," Frieberger continued. "Itai Pazner is a fantastic operator with a tremendous passion for innovation, product development and the customer experience; I know we share the same approach, values and vision for the business. In my new role I will remain on the Board to support Itai by leveraging my relationships and supporting the progress of a number of exciting strategic initiatives that are already underway.

"I have no doubts that Itai Pazner is the right person to lead 888 through the next exciting chapters of the Group's growth."

888 non-executive chairman Brian Mattingley added that he was delighted Frieberger had agreed to remain on 888's board to ensure a seamless transition to Pazner's leadership.

"In Itai Pazner we have the ideal successor as CEO. Itai is a highly experienced and dynamic operator who has developed a unique understanding of 888 over the past 17 years within the company," Mattingley said. "He has a fantastic track record within the group having helped to drive 888's growth in a number of new regulated markets and overseen significant product and marketing innovation during recent years. Itai Pazner has worked closely with Itai Frieberger for a number of years, especially in his most recent role as COO, which will enable an effective and seamless transition."

Speaking about Friberger's tenure, he added: "On a personal note, Itai Frieberger and I have worked closely together for many years and he has been a fantastic colleague. He has made a truly outstanding contribution to 888 and, on behalf of everyone at the company, I would like to thank Itai for his truly exceptional achievements and dedication."

Confirmation of the appointment comes after 888 last month said that it is on track to meet management expectations across full-year earnings before tax and deductions in 2018, mainly due to the performance of its UK business.

888 recently rolled out its sports betting services in New Jersey and also finalised a deal to acquire the remaining 53% interest in the All American Poker Network (AAPN), part of the only interstate poker network in the US, giving players in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada the opportunity to play against one another.

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