The hunt for a more high-profile ‘IPO-experienced’ candidate to replace
online gaming company Betfair’s ousted chief financial officer Owen O’Donnell
has begun – but the business remains tight-lipped about who is in the frame.
O’Donnell, whose departure was announced two weeks ago, is said to have been
unseated because Betfair is planning to follow rival PartyGaming’s multi-million
pound footsteps to flotation in the first quarter of 2006, and a more
experienced, high-profile finance professional is needed to guide it through the
A Betfair spokesman said the company was not prepared to comment until an
appointment had been made, but stressed that someone with ‘significant
experience’ was required and it ‘could happen soon’.
When O’Donnell leaves on 31 August, it is believed that financial controller
Stephen Morana will lead the finance function until a replacement is found.
The spokesman stressed that Betfair had a ‘very strong internal finance team’
and was confident that it ‘did not necessarily need’ a CFO as things currently
stood, because there was ‘no public-facing work’ at the moment.
On 15 July, Betfair appointed Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as its
financial advisers in a bid to strengthen its lead up to an IPO. It is believed
that, if asked, both would be in a position to advise Betfair on a choice of
Both companies refused to comment on the post.
Despite O’Donnell’s early departure, chief executive Stephen Hill said he had
made ‘a significant contribution to Betfair’s development during the past two
There was no announcement made about O’Donnell’s future plans.
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