Coral’s exhaustive search for a new managing director has ended as Andy Hornby decided to accept the company’s offer. After a year of searching, many had wondered if the bookmaker would ever make an appointment. At least they can safely say that they well and truly thought this one through.
Hornby’s career has seen him take top jobs at Halifax, HBOS, Asda, before finishing at Alliance Boots earlier this year.
A spokesperson for Coral told the Guardian, “We are delighted that someone of [Hornby’s] calibre is taking the reins and will be chief executive of retail and remote gambling. Any breakup of the group is not planned or on the horizon.”
There is some controversy that surrounds the new MD though. Hornby was at the controls when HBOS was bailed out during the UK financial crisis of 2008. That saw him called to an HM Treasury select committee to explain himself. He then left his last job at Alliance Boots due to the pressure at the top, stating, “After an intense last five years as CEO of two major companies, I have decided to take a few months’ break and, having discussed it with the board of Alliance Boots, to stand down from my post as group chief executive.”
Of course he’s now had that break so should be sufficiently rejuvenated to takeover the helm. Although given that his last two positions have ended slightly acrimoniously, questions will be asked.
It’s also widely though that the former-HBOS man is joining in advance of a private equity buyout of the bookmaking side of the Gala Coral group. No comment has yet been made by either side confirming or denying this.