May 13, 2014 / 7:22 AM / 3 years ago

Paddy Power CEO to step down in 2015

DUBLIN, May 13 (Reuters) - Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power kicked off a search for a new chief executive on Tuesday after Patrick Kennedy said he would step down in 2015 following nearly ten years in the role.

"I have always had a personal view that after ten years at the helm, change is good, both for the business and the individual," Kennedy said in a statement.

William Hill, Britain's largest bookmaker, is also looking for a new CEO as the current occupant is to retire by the end of next year.

Paddy Power, used to posting stellar profit growth, said punter-friendly results in March had resulted in its two worst weekends ever for football profitability and would unfavourably affect its first-half results.

Profit growth at the Dublin-based group slowed last year and its shares fell 4.6 percent on Tuesday.

"Given the group's very impressive track record under his (Kennedy's) tenure, this is likely to lead to a period of uncertainty for investors," Davy Stockbrokers said in a note.

For the full year, Paddy Power expects the impact to be largely offset by positive sales growth, the recycling of winnings by customers and the later-than-expected introduction of an Irish online and phone betting tax.

The amount of money staked by customers has risen 15 percent in the year to date and total revenue was 5 percent higher, before a busy period that includes the soccer World Cup in June, when activity traditionally rises significantly. (Reporting by Sam Cage; Editing by Mark Potter)

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