Apart from posting its first-half results yesterday, Paddy Power Betfair announced that its co-founder and ex Chief Executive Officer Steward Kenny is to leave the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Kenny, who effectively helped creating the €10-billion Irish bookmaker, is now say goodbye to his position as a non-executive director of the company’s board after spending there 28 years.
The Chairman of Paddy Power Betfair Gary McGann paid tribute to the company’s co-founder highlighting the fact that Mr. Kenny had 40 years of professional experience in the bookmaking business. He commented Kenny’s decision to step down from his position in the company and described his record in the industry as an “enviable” one.
He also said that a great legacy is left behind Paddy Power’s ex CEO as Mr. Kenny managed to develop a small retail operation that was focused mostly on domestic customers and turn it to one of the most successful betting businesses on a global scale.
McGann added that the presence of Mr. Kenny in the industry got a positive impact on the overall betting business’ culture and a great contribution to the business. According to him, the former CEO played a major part in the merger between Paddy Power and Betfair.
Currently, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ireland-based bookie is one of the best-recognised figures in the local gambling and betting industry. He is known as the person who helped Paddy Power get established in the late 1980s. The global betting business is estimated to about €10 billion to date.
Mr. Kenny’s career started as a manager of a Ladbrokes shop in London, but he then returned to Ireland and worked in several bookmaking companies before making the decision to open a sports betting business of his own.
Back in 1986, a partnership called Kenny O-Reilly was formed under his lead and then sold to UK-based Corals for IR £3 million. The partnership established another bookmaking company only a few days after the deal. Two years later – in 1988 – Mr. Kenny initiated a merger of the partnership with the Richard Power Ground and Corcoran’s and Paddy Power was formed. His main idea at the time was to set up a business that was able to compete with the large British players which held over 20% of the Irish betting market at the time.
After Paddy Power was formed, Mr. Kenny was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of the company and did not leave the position until 2002. He was also the one who oversaw the bookmaker’s launch on the Irish Stock Exchange in 2001 and initiated the company’s process of transformation from a regular bookmaking shop chain to a betting group providing a variety of gambling and betting options.
In the period 2002-2003 Steward Kenny was appointed as a Chairman of the group, and then remained on the company’s board at the position of non-executive director.