The 50/1 outsider: GVC boss Kenny Alexander
Successful poker play is all about the part of wonder. As any rheumy-eyed card sharp will let you know, the most threatening hand at the desk is the one no one sees coming.
Kenny Alexander’s upward thrust to the best of the gaming business has been so stealthy a few of his competition are nonetheless scratching their heads questioning the place on earth he surfaced from.
In playing phrases, he’s the 50/1 outsider who’s sneaked up on the rails to win by way of a nostril. The roulette ball that’s plopped directly to 0 at the remaining 2nd. The royal flush which gave the impression out of nowhere.
In his ten years in command of GVC, he has became an organization valued at £26m, which hired simply seven other people, into an international gaming large with three,000 staff, a marketplace cap of £five.five billion and a coveted position in the FTSE 100.
Having began out proudly owning only one on-line on line casino for German audio system, his company now controls High Street bookmakers Ladbrokes Coral, plus, due to its £1.four billion takeover of Bwin Party, large identify internet sites comparable to Party Poker and Gala Bingo.
Should you’ve gotten stumbled in after remaining orders the day before today night and had an internet flutter, chances are high that it was once one among Alexander’s corporations taking your cash.
Kenny will have earned a name for ruthlessness, however he doesn’t seem like a playing kingpin. He clothes modestly and his means is quiet and unassuming.
To the croupiers in Edgware Road’s Grosvenor Casino, the place he loves to paintings the tables, he’s simply an strange punter. Other than making offers, racehorses are his primary interest. Aged 13, Kenny’s civil servant father took him to Ayr races the place he evolved his liking for a raffle. Growing up in Irvine, in the west of Scotland, you may say there was once little else for a tender boy to do together with his time rather than practice Kilmarnock soccer membership, which he nonetheless does to nowadays.
Given his knack for learning the shape, it was once in all probability inevitable Alexander would pass on to check accounting at Glasgow University. He took a task in 1991 with City bean-counters Grant Thornton, the place he remained for 6 years prior to transferring again to Ayrshire to be monetary controller at a meat packing company run by way of Hazlewood Food.
Like any punter, a replica of the Racing Post was once infrequently a long way from his aspect. Thumbing via the shape guides at some point, he spotted a task commercial for having a bet company Sportingbet, which was once searching for a finance director in Alderney.
Alexander leapt at the probability to paintings in an business wherein he was once already smartly schooled.
Being a start-up, lifestyles was once tricky going. Long, 16-hour days. By then he’d additionally met his spouse Caroline, who didn’t make the transfer to the Channel Islands, so Alexander would fly house each and every different weekend. During this era he toyed with the concept of changing into a certified gambler.
Mrs A rapidly put the kibosh on the ones plans.
After a number of years, Alexander had risen to turn into head of Sportingbet’s European operations. In 2007 he was once named leader government of GVC.
The playing business right now was once going via a length of flux. Punters had been deserting conventional having a bet retail outlets for the privateness and comfort of on-line playing. Legislation was once final markets in some corners of the globe whilst opening up others. There was once the everlasting danger of punitive taxes. All the communicate was once about consolidation.
But whilst competitors sat on their palms, Alexander set about aggressively hoovering up firms. In 2009 he received Brazilian company Betboo. He snapped up outdated employer Sportingbet in 2012 in a three way partnership with William Hill. Four years later he snatched Bwin Party from underneath the noses of 888 Holdings. In March he pulled off the Ladbrokes Coral deal.
Home is west London throughout the week and he returns to Caroline and their two daughters at the weekend. He earned £18m remaining 12 months, the third-highest remuneration package deal in the FTSE 100.
The guy that many in the business didn’t take significantly has wiped clean up large time.