Sunday, 22 May 2011

Betfair UK is falling down

Not a glowing article about them in the Guardian today, just backing up the anecdotal stories heard elsewhere. The problem for them is that many of those staff listed as leaving are the 'good eggs', frustrated as hell by the impenetrable cliques and bone-headed decision making going on elsewhere. The firm has lost nearly half its paper value since it floated - surely it's time for blood at the top?

Going looks hard for Betfair as managers quit and shares fall

Wave of middle-management departures rocks betting exchange already reeling from shares selloff

Betfair, the embattled betting exchange, has been rocked by a fresh crisis following a wave of middle-management departures. The defections come as the company digests the results of a private poll of staff revealing that employees believe their company lacks direction.

This year's departures include: Mathias Entenmann, chief product and services officer; Charlie Palmer, head of mobile; and Robin Osmond, chief executive of financial betting exchange LMAX. Lee Cowles, director of UK sports and gaming, is understood to have told staff he will also be leaving.

These have been joined by director of European and public affairs Tim Phillips, head of strategic programmes Emily Foges, director of site products and services Rob Glynne, head of sports exchange products Alex Deacon, IS director Tony Rigby, and Don Fotsch, vice-president of global user experience.

News of the departures comes as the group's shares, which listed at £13 last autumn, have come under pressure. They have slumped from around £10 in early April. The latest sell-off, which saw the price hit a low of 778p, is thought to have been triggered by predictions that next month's results announcement will be lacklustre, heaping more pressure on chief executive, David Yu. Analysts at Investec, who have a 445p share price target, predict pre-tax profits of £21.9m for the 12 months to April the same as in 2010.

A source close to the company said: "Betfair has lost a lot of good people. There is no leadership. It is a given that there will be no growth [in the annual results] as for a long time the company has been running hard to stand still. If good decisions were made and proper structures put in place the company would be able to accelerate quickly."


  1. Sad but true................

    It's not too late for them IMO, but if a credible competitor came along now, I reckon the end would be in sight.

    You ever thought of doing it all over again?

  2. Would need a major clearout before I'd even consider it. Too far gone now for me to go back, not a fan of big corporate environments, much prefer the excitement and spontaneity of start-ups.

  3. Haven't you just answered Betfair's dilemma?
    The staff and personalities that drive a start-up are not the same one's who want to take a company into "adulthood".
    When a company is growing exponentially, it must be hugely exciting. But now, being the dominant world-leader of betting exchanges, isn't it a period of consolidation and seeking new markets?
    Where do we want Betfair to be in 10 years?
    Me personally, I want it to remain in existence (or be replaced with an equally available exchange). But I don't want it to start buying hotels, or football clubs, or racehorses.
    I would like Betfair to protect the "ordinary" punter more, perhaps by providing a an alternative "bot-free" exchange. As a player who does not use a "bot", I find some markets (ie, in-running during horseracing) are virtually un-playable.
    A great blog by-the-way, well done.

  4. Excellent post Scott. Betfair is not only losing the core of its middle management, it is well on its way to losing any last scraps of loyalty from its customers. The PC was the beginning of the end in that respect, followed by the long series of site crashes and unnecessary gimmicks added to the site. Betfair has sadly become another corporate beast lacking soul and ignoring those who made it such a success.

    We've added you to our blog list Scott

  5. thanks Betfair Shark. I've got a rule about new blogs - too many guys write 3 or 4 posts and then give up. Keep the content flowing and I'll endorse you on my blogroll in a few weeks.

  6. As an observer from the U.S. side, much the same is happening there. They have let a lot of good people go while keeping the dregs. Their desperate attempt to lobby their Exchange through could be a very expensive failure.


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