John Schappert Joins The Stars Group

Tia Winter | 15 August 2019

Amidst a significant reshuffling of its international management team, gaming and online gambling company, The Stars Group has appointed industry stalwart, John Schappert to its board of directors. Schappert joins the board as an independent director and a member of the board’s compensation and technology committees.

A Distinguished Career

Schappert enters The Stars Group fold with a considerable amount of industry experience already under his belt. He first began making his mark in the field when he co-founded video game development studio, Tiburon Entertainment, which was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) in 1998. He also served as Chairman and Chief Executive at both EA and Zynga, in addition to occupying the position of Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corporation’s Interactive Entertainment Business unit, in the early years of his career.

At present, Schappert serves as Chairman for developers, Motorsport Games and Pipeworks Studios, as well as Chief Executive and Chairman for video game software developer, Shiver Entertainment, a position that he has held since 2012.

Extensive Management Reshuffling

Schappert’s appointment is just part of a much grander-scale shift of management positions for The Stars Group’s international division.

Asaf Noifeld, for example, has been moved from his former position as Director of Product and Innovation to a new post as Managing Director of Casino. This sees Noifeld replace former Mr Green Chief Executive, Bo Wanghammar, who has moved into a strategic advisory position for all international business.

Former Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Severin Rasset, meanwhile has been shifted into a role as Managing Director and Commercial Officer of Pokers.

At the same time, Gino Appiotti, who has served in various senior roles since joining The Stars Group in 2011, has been appointed President of the International Unit and will now report directly to Stars Chief Executive, Rafi Ashkenazi.

Dip in International Revenue

Not insignificantly, The Stars Group revealed these managerial changes at the same time as announcing its six-month results for the period ending 30 June 2019. These results showed a 51.4% increase in revenue for the period – up to US$1.22 billion from US$804.4 million in the same period last year.

However, despite the fact that the international business is The Stars Group’s primary revenue generator, this division – which covers all operations outside of the United Kingdom (Sky Betting and Gaming) and Australia (William Hill Australia and CrownBet) – experienced a 9.5% year-on-year decline to US$662.5 million. While betting revenue increased by 5.5%, all other sectors experienced decline over the first half of the year.

Perhaps the managerial shuffle will turn this situation around for the international division.

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