December 2014: Patrick Kennedy, chief executive, Paddy Power

Business Person of the Month | Wed 17 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy announced his intention to step down as chief executive of Paddy Power plc at the company’s AGM in May after almost 10 years at the firm.

Kennedy joined Paddy Power plc in an executive capacity in September 2005 and became chief executive in January 2006.

Leading the way online, expanding globally, and marketing aggressively, he has turned bookmaker Paddy Power into one of Ireland’s most dynamic and successful companies. Under his stewardship, the company has seen a doubling of staff from 1,500 to over 3,000 during his tenure.

In Paddy Power’s interim management statement in November it was announced that Group net revenue was up 38% trading in the period from July 1st to November 16th, an increase on expected earnings. Paddy Power has benefited from good top-line growth and favourable sports results and the Board now expects mid to high teens percentage growth in earnings per share for the full year.

Online focus

No bookmaker has taken advantage of the explosion in online gambling to quite the same extent that Paddy Power has. Paddy Power has also grabbed the lead in the booming mobile gambling market and has the largest market share in the industry.

Under Kennedy’s stewardship total online net revenue grew by 42% in the second half of 2014, comprising a 49% increase in sportsbook and 20% growth in eGaming/B2B. The company continues to lead the industry on penetration of the key mobile sector, with 58% of its total online revenue from mobile devices in the period.

Impressively, the move into online gambling has allowed Kennedy to internationalise the business. In Australia, the company’s strong momentum and increasing market share continued in the period July to November, and its Italian online business, paddypower.it, also grew its net revenue by 72%.

As at November 16th, the Group had no debt and cash of €279m and has also opened 73 shops in the year to date (53 in the UK and 20 in Ireland) bringing the Group’s total estate to 562 units.

Marketing drive

During Kennedy’s tenure Paddy Power has not being shy about aggressively promoting the brand and has been successful in pulling off some spectacularly publicity stunts.

Kennedy believes the company will continue to be successful with the announcement of the appointment of Andy McCue as his successor.

“This is a great day for Paddy Power. Andy will bring energy, strong leadership and a detailed knowledge of the business to the role of chief executive,” Kennedy said.

McCue, added: “Patrick has transformed the business over the last 10 years, strongly positioning us in attractive markets. We have a tremendous team and I very much look forward to working with them to build on that success.”

CV highlights

  • Former non-executive director at Bank of Ireland and Elan
  • Former CFO of Greencore
  • Worked with KPMG Corporate Finance both in Ireland and the Netherlands
  • Strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company in London, Dublin and Amsterdam
  • Paddy Power named ‘Company of the Year’ at 2011 Business & Finance Awards
  • Staff numbers doubled during his time at Paddy Power
  • Cash of €279m and no debt at Paddy Power as he departs.

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Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been rewarding excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award over the last number of years. These awards seek to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.