Betfair in limbo as top job remains unfilled

The search for a replacement chief financial officer and chief
executive at online gambling company Betfair ‘could take months’ and last until
2006, a spokesman has admitted. This would leave only financial controller
Stephen Morana, who has been ruled out of the top job, at the helm.

The group has been without a CFO since Owen O’Donnell left on 31
August, with Morana in temporary charge, and the company could be without a
senior finance manager for over six months if no replacement is found until

O’Donnell had been at the business for two years but left following

speculation that he would be replaced by a candidate with more IPO experience to
guide Betfair through to a flotation, initially expected to be during the first
quarter of next year.

Betfair’s senior management woes continued last week when chief
executive Stephen Hill resigned on the spot on Tuesday and left the company
three days later. This has scuppered plans for a first quarter 2006 IPO, which
has now been shelved until after the World Cup next summer.

Despite being a main contributor to the company’s offshore launch in
Malta last week, a Betfair spokesman said Morana would ‘not be in the running’
for the top job because the business needed a ‘heavyweight name with FTSE

‘There is no question over Stephen’s ability, but whether ability is
the whole requirement when hiring an IPO is another matter,’ the Betfair
spokesman said.

He added that the CFO and CEO would be hired ‘in tandem’, with
headhunters due to start their search this week, but warned that the process
‘could take months’.

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