The Financial Times reports further boardroom drama brewing at FTSE250 gambling technology group Playtech Plc, as US hedge fund SpringOwl, pushes governance to restructure the firm’s executive remuneration policies
Led by renowned activist investor Jason Ader, SpringOwl is reported to want Playtech governance to install a more incentivised executive pay package, structured on share options over cash rewards.
SpringOwl’s reported movements will see further speculation mount on the future of long-term Playtech Chief Executive Mor Weizer (Group CEO since 2007).
A turbulent 2018, in which Playtech undertook a number of adjustments, operating in tougher regulatory environments within Europe and Asia, saw the FTSE firm’s share price halved to 434p (January 2018 price – 860p)
The technology group’s poor performance would see almost 60% of Playtech investors revolt against the firm’s remuneration report, which revealed that Weizer had been granted a 78% pay-rise, despite the firm’s declining performance.
Furthermore, at Playtech’s 2018 AGM 35% of shareholders would move to oppose the re-election of Alan Jackson as corporate chairman.
During the course of 2018, SpringOwl secured a $100 million holding in Playtech Plc (5% equity), applying pressure on corporate governance to undertake major structural changes and refocus the firm on its gambling services.
Increasing its influence on Playtech governance, this week SpringOwl backed the appointments of corporate finance executives Anna Massion and John Krumins as new corporate Non-Executive Directors.
Ader and SpringOwl would issue the following comment on the Non-Exec appointments –
“We are pleased Anna and John have been appointed to the Board. We have worked closely and constructively with Playtech’s Board and institutional shareholders to identify these two outstanding candidates. Anna and John’s wealth of experience and expertise will be invaluable in providing the necessary oversight and counsel to help shape the Company’s strategic direction.”