Aristocrat Chairman Blackburne and Ainsworth CEO Gladstone to exit

In a lively week for the gaming industry, two titans of the sector have announced their departures.

Aristocrat Leisure Limited (Aristocrat) have announced current Chairman Dr Ian Blackburne will formally step down at Aristocrat’s AGM on 21 February 2019 having served on the board since 2009 and as Chairman since September 2010. Blackburne’s successor as Chairman on that day will be current Non-Executive Director, Neil Chatfield.

Meanwhile, over at Ainsworth Game Technology (AGT), current Group CEO Danny Gladstone will be stepping down as of 30 June 2019. Filing an Australia ASX update, Ainsworth confirmed Gladstone would remain within the business but did not announce a successor for Gladstone, who has served as Ainsworth CEO since 2007.

Aristocrat’s Blackburne said of his news: “It has been a great privilege to have worked with an exceptional Board and many high quality executives during almost 10 years at Aristocrat. By every measure, the company has transformed over that period, and I am very gratified that it is now widely considered to be a global leader in land-based gaming and an emerging leader within the dynamic and fast growing social digital industry.

“I particularly want to thank my Board colleagues for their commitment and hard work, which has delivered great value to the business, and to me personally, in my role as Chairman.

“I am also delighted to have an individual of Neil’s calibre succeed me as Chairman. Neil’s depth of experience across some of Australia’s most successful and dynamic growth companies will be extremely valuable to the Board and broader organisation going forward” Blackburne said.

The Aristocrat board congratulated Chatfield on his appointment as Chairman. Chatfield was nominated back in December 2017 and formally appointed after regulatory pre-approvals in February 2018, with the news only now revealed.

Commenting on his appointment, Chatfield said: “I am honoured to be endorsed by my colleagues and appointed to succeed Ian as Chairman of the Aristocrat Board. I look forward to working closely with my fellow Directors, and the management team, to ensure we continue to unlock Aristocrat’s exciting growth opportunities across both land-based and Digital markets globally.”

Ainsworth Executive Chairman Graeme Campbell confirmed the search for Gladstone’s successor is underway, with Gladstone helping advise on his replacement.

“While there will be a more appropriate time to formally thank Danny, I would like to state that he has been an excellent CEO for AGT,” said Campbell.

“He has successfully driven significant international expansion and growth in recurring revenues.

“Ainsworth is much stronger for Danny’s contribution. We are delighted he will continue to assist us in the future. A thorough and extensive search process will be undertaken to secure a new CEO who can lead AGT to the next stages of growth and profitability.”

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