Svenska Spel chief resigns

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SWEDISH GAMBLING MONOPOLY CHIEF STEPS DOWN

Svenska Spel boss at odds with directors

Jesper Krrbrink (44), the CEO at Svenska Spel since 2004, is departing from his position following disagreements with the directors on how the state-owned Swedish gambling monopoly should be run. His position will be temporarily filled by finance executive Anders Hgg until a replacement can be found.

"Lately it has become obvious that my ideas on how to run Svenska Spel do not agree with the conception of the owner," Karrbrink said this week. "Therefore, I and the Board have reached a mutual understanding that the best thing to do in this situation is that the Board finds a successor as CEO.

"My years with Svenska Spel have been fantastic, I will remember them with much delight especially all the wonderful co-workers and their incredible commitment," he added.

The newly appointed Svenska Spel board chairperson Margareta Winberg issued a statement expressing her regrets over Krrbrinks decision to step down.

"I regret that Jesper Krrbrink now leaves Svenska Spel," said Winberg. "He has been a creative leader and has re-organised Svenska Spel in an efficient way. But I also understand Jespers situation. If you do not share the owners fundamental perspective on how the company should be governed you can no longer be the leader of the company."

In recent years Sweden has been torn between holding a lucrative monopoly and pressures from the European Commission to allow the free movement of goods and services between member nations of the European Union.

With the announcement of Karrbrink's departure came news of the company's business performance in Q1 of 2008, with improved results and a greater emphasis on responsible gambling.

Last years positive trend continued during the period, with group NGR at SEK 1371 million an increase of SEK 20 million compared with the same period last year. All Svenska Spels business areas, except the restaurant, show increased net gaming revenue in comparison with the same period last year.

Other first quarter result highlights included:

Net gaming revenue from Internet & Mobile sources increased by 14.7 percent to SEK 347 million.

The NGR for the Casino business increased to SEK 297 million - up 16.1 percent compared to the first quarter 2007, with the breakdown : Stockholm Casino up 18.4 percent, Gothenburg 16.5 percent, Malm 10.9 percent, and Sundsvall 17.4 percent.

Svenska Spels biggest business area, Retail, showed an increase in NGR of SEK 6 million.

Restaurant businesses generated SEK 474 million, a decline of SEK 5 million.

Operations in the Association, Subscription and Bingo halls areas are all in the initial phases and therefore generate only modest revenues.

Operational activities included compulsory age verification on the VLTs; intensified control and enforcement in order to eliminate the presence of 'illegal' gaming machines at Svenska Spels retailers; new, more strict and self-determined guiding rules for marketing the products of Svenska Spel and major television and print advertising.

Over 3 000 new users of the responsible gaming diagnostic tool Playscan (Spelkoll) were recorded, bringing total users to 22 000.

Krrbrink is set to receive severance pay of 2.88 million kronor (around $487 000), the equivalent of one years salary. He has also signed an agreement not to work for a competing company for one year, said Winberg.
 

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