Playtech chair Alan Jackson exits amid shareholder pay protest


playtech-chairman-alan-jackson-shareholder-revoltUK-listed gambling technology provider Playtech is bidding goodbye to chairman Alan Jackson as shareholders once again strenuously objected to senior executives’ hefty salaries.

Playtech held its annual general meeting on Wednesday, which included a trading statement covering the full year ahead. Essentially, the company says the trends displayed in its 2018 annual report, i.e. ‘Regulated B2B Gaming’ is growing, while ‘Non-regulated B2B Gaming’ is “materially lower” due to a “highly competitive” environment in Asia’s grey- and black-markets.

Playtech’s B2C operations, which were significantly bolstered by last year’s acquisition of Italy’s Snaitech, continue to be “very strong.” Playtech also expects its extended 15-year Sun Bingo contract will be profitable this year. The TradeTech financial division has turned in “encouraging” results but market volatility is “well below historical averages.”

Meanwhile, Playtech confirmed that the search is on for a replacement for Jackson (pictured), who has occupied the chairman’s seat since 2013. More than one-third of Playtech shareholders voted against Jackson’s re-election to the board on Wednesday, in part due to the company awarding him a 17% pay rise last August despite Playtech’s shrinking profits.

Playtech shareholders also voted 41.8% and 41% against the company’s latest remuneration report and remuneration policy, respectively. As bad as that sounds, it’s actually an improvement over last year’s AGM, at which 60% of shareholders expressed dismay over the pay packets given to execs such as CEO Mor Weizer.

Weizer’s base salary was €1.13m in 2018, an 18% bump from 2017. He also saw a 46% bump in his pension contributions. Part of the ire directed at Jackson at this current AGM was his evident unwillingness to address shareholder concerns regarding executive compensation.

Activist investor Jason Ader put Playtech in his sights last autumn, and Ader is reportedly working with the company on a new pay structure that will see more of Weizer’s compensation linked to the company’s overall performance.