Business Person of the Month

November 2009: Patrick Kennedy, CEO, Paddy Power

By Business & Finance
02 December 2009
Patrick Kennedy

A driving force behind the huge success of Paddy Power at home and abroad, Kennedy is a sure bet.


With the announcement that Paddy Power has created 250 jobs through an outsourcing contract with online sports betting giant PMU, Ireland’s largest bookmaker has yet again shown why it is a market leader and a genuine success story in Irish business.

At the heart of this success is Patrick Kennedy, chief executive since January 2006, and one of the driving forces behind the company’s local success and expansionary overseas strategy which has seen Paddy Power infiltrate the UK, Australian and French markets with incredible success.

International expansion

Paddy Power will manage risk and pricing for PMU’s new online sports-betting business for the five-year period from 2010 as PMU expands into the French market which is due to take place in the first half of next year.

Under Kennedy’s leadership, business development at Paddy Power has been an area of marked progress. The company intends to create a further 200 high-end jobs in Tallaght over three years as it continues to exploit international growth opportunities by leveraging its risk management and e-commerce expertise.

Paddy Power currently has 29% of the market share in Ireland, with management expecting this to increase over the next year.

Up to 39% of profits now come from the UK which has only half the number of betting shops per head of population compared to Ireland. Paddy Power now has 87 UK stores, with a total of 150 being targeted for 2011.

In the land down under

This year’s foray into the Australian market has been a particular source of excitement for investors. Paddy Power bought a 51% stake in Aussie bookmaker Sportsbet last May, as well as buying the shares it didn’t already own in online outfit International All Sports Ltd, a month later.

With Australians having the largest per capita gambling spend in the world, this looks like another shrewd investment for the firm with Kennedy at the helm.

Geographic expansion has been further achieved by the launch of two foreign language websites – German and Spanish. With over 50% of Paddy Power’s profitability coming from outside Ireland, the company has truly become a global player in the industry. The distinctive Paddy Power brand, one of the company’s strongest assets, continues to flourish with Kennedy as chief executive.

Rise to the top

Patrick Kennedy was already a board member of Paddy Power when he became CEO, having been appointed as a non-executive director in March 2004. Prior to this, he was chief financial officer of Greencore Group plc, which he joined in 1998. He was appointed to the board of Greencore in 2001 and assumed the CFO role in 2002.

Kennedy started out his career with KPMG Corporate Finance and as a strategy consultant with McKinsey Management Consultants. In May 2008, he was appointed as a non-executive director of Élan Corporation.

Paddy Power is the largest provider of fixed-odds sports betting in Ireland. The company has an unconventional approach towards betting; it believes in making low-stake betting more entertaining and accessible. Through this strategy, it has developed a strong reputation as “the punter-friendly bookmaker” and has become renowned for its unique money back specials.

Merc logoBusiness & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been awarding 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.