Irish betting operators Paddy Power have confirmed Andy McCue (pictured) as the heir apparent to CEO Patrick Kennedy, who is due to relinquish the reins of power this New Year’s Eve. Regardless how severe McCue’s hangover, the current head of Paddy’s retail operations in the UK and Ireland will take over as CEO on Jan. 1. (So much for rumors that beer-swilling toy squirrel Barry O’Rio was a shoo-in.)
McCue was given the task of overseeing Paddy’s retail operations and engaging in wars of words with Ralph Topping shortly before Christmas 2012. Kennedy announced his departure in May following nearly a decade in the CEO’s corner office. Paddy chairman Nigel Northridge said McCue’s “outstanding track record” made him the “ideal leader to drive Paddy Power’s next phase of growth.”
Meanwhile, Paddy has teamed up with English Premier League (EPL) squad Arsenal FC and the Gay Football Supporters’ Network in the latest campaign to discourage homophobia. The 2013 Rainbow Laces campaign, led by gay rights charity Stonewall, encouraged EPL and other UK football players to wear rainbow-colored laces in their boots during matches as a visible statement in support of gay players and fans. Stonewall is also encouraging the use of the #RainbowLaces hashtag to build awareness.
Stonewall has sent fresh pairs of laces to all EPL clubs this year in the hopes of keeping the campaign’s momentum going and to “kick homophobia out of football.” The ‘Change the Game’ video (viewable below) features Arsenal players Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain explaining various things about themselves that they are powerless to change, such as Oxlade-Chamberlain’s resemblance to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Giroud’s apparent addiction to Axe body spray.