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Jeanette Kozlowski

Party Says O'Malia's Resignation Not Result of C.E.O. Pass

19 January 2009

After receiving a major promotion to PartyGaming’s board last May, John O’Malia, managing director, gave notice to the online gambling firm that he will leave after February.

According to a prepared statement, Mr. O’Malia is leaving to pursue other business interests and said he is “looking forward to taking on fresh business challenges.”

Richard Carter, an analyst at Numis Securities who covers PartyGaming, believes that to be the very case since Mr. O’Malia, the former chief executive of Gamebookers, was passed up for the chief executive position last May when James A. Ryan of St. Minver Ltd. was brought aboard.

Although last year’s board reshuffle saw him placed as managing director, Mr. O’Malia was considered by industry analysts a frontrunner for the top spot.

“Given that John went for the C.E.O. position and lost out to Jim (Ryan), I think it’s just the case that he feels that he wants to move on and potentially be the C.E.O. of another business,” Mr. Carter told IGamingNews Monday.

Because of Mr. O'Malia's entrepreneurial background, Mr. Carter said it was understandable for him to want to pursue further his ambitions of heading another company. Mr. O'Malia presided over Gamebookers until it was acquired by PartyGaming for £69 million in August 2006.

However, John Shepherd, PartyGaming’s director of corporate communications, denied this speculation.

“If that were the case, then why did he stay on after Jim was appointed last year? He would have left nine months ago, wouldn’t he?” Mr. Shepherd told IGamingNews Monday. “If you check against the chronology, then why would that be the case?”

Although Mr. Shepherd said Mr. O'Malia's departure had no correlation with Mr. Ryan’s appointment, he called Mr. O’Malia “a very ambitious guy who’s already had a very successful career for someone who is quite young.”

“I can’t speak for John,” Mr. Shepherd added, “but he is the sort of guy who would want to be C.E.O. of a company.”

This board shake-up comes three months after Sabin Brooks, the company's former head of marketing, was replaced by Intercasino's Jon Salmon.

Looking ahead, Mr. Ryan, Party's chief executive, will take over Mr. O’Malia's duties when he leaves at the end of next month.

“Over the past two and a half years, John has made a significant contribution to the transformation and leadership of the group,” Mr. Ryan said in a prepared statement. “His vision and dedication were fundamental to the successful launch of the next generation of our signature product in September 2008. John is a natural leader and is keen to fulfill his potential in a more senior management role that will play to his considerable industry and management experience.”

At press time Monday, Mr. O'Malia had not responded to an e-mail seeking comment.

Party Says O'Malia's Resignation Not Result of C.E.O. Pass is republished from
Jeanette Kozlowski
Jeanette Kozlowski