Stars Group names EA and Zynga veteran Schappert as director

13 August 2019

The Stars Group has appointed experienced video and social gaming industry executive John Schappert to its board of directors, while reshuffling the management team of its international division.

Schappert is the co-founder of Tiburon Entertainment, a video game development studio that was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1998, and becomes an independent director, as well as a member of the board compensation and technology committees

He has served as chairman and chief executive of video game software developer Shiver Entertainment since 2012, and is also chairman of developers Motorsport Games and Pipeworks Studios.

Earlier in his career, he had spells as chief operating officer both Zynga and Electronic Arts, and was also corporate vice president of Microsoft Corporation’s Interactive Entertainment Business unit.

The appointment, announced alongside the operator's results for the six months ended 30 June, came as The Stars Group made a number of changes to the management for its International business segment. This operating unit covers all activities outside of the UK - comprising Sky Betting and Gaming - and Australia (CrownBet and William Hill Australia). 

This sees Asaf Noifeld, previously director of product and innovation, become managing director of casino. Noifeld has worked for the PokerStars operator since January 2014, having previously held roles with 888 Holdings and mobile network software provider Comverse. 

He replaces former Mr Green chief executive Bo Wanghammar as casino MD. Wanghammar will now assume a new strategic advisory role, working across all of the international business.

Severin Rasset, meanwhile, has been appointed as the new managing director and commercial officer of pokers, having previously serving as its director of poker innovation and operations.

Rasset joined Stars in September 2011 as head of poker in France, before going on to also serve as director of poker operations Southern Europe. Prior to his time with Stars, he spent five years as head of poker at Chilligaming.

Other changes in senior personnel include Gino Appiotti becoming president of the international unit. Appiotti, who will now report directly to chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi, has served in a number of senior roles at Stars since joining the business in 2011.

Confirmation of the new appoints comes as Stars this week reported a 51.4% rise in revenue for the six months to June 30, 2019. Revenue totalled $1.22bn (£1.01bn/€1.09bn) in the period, up from $804.4m last year.

The international business remains its primary source of income, but revenue from this arm slipped 9.5% year-on-year to $662.5m. Betting revenue was up 5.5%, but all other areas saw declines in the first half.