Director of group security latest Betfair exec to head for the exits

TAGs: Betfair, cyber thieves

betfair-security-chief-departureBetfair’s director of group security Sean Catlett has announced he will be taking his leave of the company at the end of this month. A Betfair spokesman said: “Sean Catlett is taking on a great opportunity at a security start-up and we will be announcing his replacement in due course.” Prior to joining Betfair, Catlett did security stints at Barclays PLC and Bank of America.

Although Catlett’s decision to head for the exits was apparently reached some time ago, the announcement comes less than 24 hours after The Telegraph’s Alistair Osborne revealed that Betfair had suffered a massive security breach in the spring of 2010. Catlett joined Betfair in October 2009, meaning he was on duty when the theft of millions of customers’ data occurred.

Catlett is the latest in a long line of key personnel to bid Betfair buh-bye since the company went public in October 2010, including its top two execs, CEO David Yu and chairman Ed Wray. But the ranks of Betfair’s digital watchmen have been particularly hard hit by defections, with more than 20 security personnel having left the fold since that breach occurred.

Betfair rationalized the security team turnover by noting that during Catlett’s tenure, “he has been upgrading the team significantly and bringing in new, highly experienced people, hence the departures.” But as a Betfair insider told the Telegraph’s Osborne, “almost all the senior security specialists who knew the systems best have now left.” Then again, it’s hard to gauge the effect of those departures, as even when these vets were still on the job, security specialists Information Risk Management concluded that “appropriate information security governance is not in place within Betfair and as a consequence the business has been exposed to significant risks.”

Despite the bad press, Betfair shares closed out the week at 742p, up a modest 2.5p on the day, but still a far cry from its £13 IPO price or its near-£16 peak in the heady few days following the floatation.


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