SAZKA appoints Sir Keith Mills as National Lottery steward

SAZKA Group has appointed Sir Keith Mills as ‘Bid Chair’ to lead its ‘UK Team’ competing to win the fourth National Lottery operating tender.

A figurehead in British business and sports, Mills is the former President of the ‘London 2012 campaign committee’ who led a successful 10-year project to win the Olympic and Paralympic Games – the biggest ever sports events hosted by the UK.

Further to his London 2012 achievements, Mills is recognised as the pioneer of customer loyalty programmes having founded Air Miles (1988) and Nectar Card (2002).

For the past six years, Mills has chaired the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – a role he will hand over to Lord William Hague next month.

SAZKA Chief Executive Robert Chvátal branded Mills as the optimal figurehead to lead the firm’s National Lottery bid, as he held an unmatched record working in the core disciplines of sport, charities and business.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Sir Keith Mills for our entry in the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition,” he said. “We are hugely excited to be participating in this competition and for the chance to take stewardship of the National Lottery, helping the UK to fall back in love with this vital institution.

“We want to bring this deep knowledge and customer insight to the UK National Lottery and make this national treasure even better by increasing sales and providing a much-needed boost to communities, arts, sports and heritage institutions across the country.”

This October, SAZKA governance officially submitted its ‘selection questionnaire’ to compete in the fourth tender, seeking to end Camelot Group’s 26-year tenure as operating firm of the National Lottery.

A key government contract supervised by DCMS, this summer Neil McArthur CEO UKGC launched the National Lottery competition, in which suitors were handed the responsibility of “maximising the opportunities for players and good causes to benefit from innovation and creativity, whilst protecting the National Lottery’s unique status”.

Taking stewardship of SAZKA’s bid, Mills commented: “I am driven by organisations that make a real contribution to society. I chose to team up with SAZKA Group for the National Lottery Licence Competition because I believe the UK National Lottery needs to grow and be engaging if it is to continue funding thousands of good causes every year.

“Our lottery is a national treasure with nearly 26 years of history, however, the landscape has changed immeasurably since it was first launched in 1994. The challenge now is to ensure the lottery connects with people right across the country, making it fresh and exciting as it once was, bringing new ways that are relevant for today and tomorrow’s generation.

“I am cognisant that much has to be done for us to make a winning case in this competition, but I believe that over the course of this process we will be able to demonstrate how SAZKA Group’s expertise coupled with the experienced British team that we are building in the UK will offer the right stewardship for the UKNL for 2023 and beyond.”

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