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Kindred appoints Kortman as interim CFO

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Kindred Group has announced the appointment of Patrick Kortman as interim chief financial officer, replacing Johan Wilsby.
Kindred Group office

Kortman has been with Kindred since September 2018 as head of corporate development and investor relations. He also serves as chairman of Finnish logistics business Hakonen Solutions.

Prior to joining Kindred, Kortman worked as a senior investment manager at private equity business Ratos for two years. He also spent 10 years at financial services group Nordea, working as both an associate director and director.

Patrick Kortman Kindred Group

Wilsby, whose exit was announced on 15 May, is not due to leave Kindred until the autumn and will support Kortman during a transition period.

Nils Andén, who took on the role of interim chief executive last month after the long-serving Henrik Tjärnström stepped down, said Kortman would play a key role in Kindred’s strategic review.

“Patrick knows Kindred very well and has a vast experience from the financial sector,” Andén said. “He will continue to bring great value to Kindred’s financial operations, wider executive team, and the board as we continue to focus on the strategic review.”

Further Kindred management changes

Kindred announced two other interim appointments to its executive team. Usha Ganesan will assume the role as interim chief finance operations officer, and Neil Banbury interim chief commercial and marketing officer. 

“I am delighted that we can maintain momentum and consistency across the company during this period thanks to our excellent senior leaders and strong employee base”, Andén said.

Banbury, formerly general manager for the UK, takes on functions previously overseen by CMO Elen Barber and CCO Anne-Jaap Snijders. The pair followed Wilsby and Tjärnström in stepping down, following a review of Kindred’s commercial and marketing operations in H2 2022. The pair will officially depart in Autumn.

Strategic review continues

All new appointments will remain as interim until the strategic review launched in April is concluded. This exploration of strategic alternatives could lead to a potential merger, sale or partial sale of the business.

It will focus on delivering and maximising value for its shareholders. However, the group did not set a timetable for completion and noted there is no assurance regarding the results or outcome of the review.

In the weeks that followed, both Tjärnström and Andén left their senior positions with the business. In the wake of Unibet founder Anders Ström criticising strategic moves such as Kindred’s US entry and development of a proprietary betting platform.

Last year, iGB revealed the operator’s board approached a number of operators such as Entain, 888 and Tipico over a potential acquisition, as well as private equity giants Apollo Global and Blackstone.

This followed pressure from activist shareholder Corvex Management to look at strategic alternatives for the business. Corvex secured a seat on the Kindred board last October, with partner James Gemmel named a non-executive director. 

Cost optimisation

The review launched as Kindred also published its financial results for the first quarter of the 2023 financial year. The group experienced growth across revenue and net profit in the three months to 31 March.

Revenue amounted to £306.4m, up 24.2% from £246.7m in the previous year.

Pre-tax profit for the quarter hit £30.4m, a year-on-year rise of 300.0%. Kindred paid £4.8m in income tax, leaving it with a net profit of £25.6m, up also up 300.0% on the previous year.

Tricky 2022

This followed a difficult 2022 for the business, in which it missed its targets for the fourth quarter. This contributed to a 15.2% year-on-year decline in full year revenue to £1.07bn, with net profit dropping 59.2% to £120.1m. 

In the wake of the missed Q4 targets, then-CEO Tjärnström said “no item was sacred” as he looked to cut costs and build a more efficient business. 

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