888 CEO Itai Pazner is exiting the company in the wake of an internal probe revealed anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) failings related to Middle Eastern VIP players. Pazner has not been accused of any personal wrongdoing in the matter, though the story is developing.
Pazner’s departure is the first bit of blowback in the wake of an internal investigation which found irregularities related to VIP customers playing in Middle Eastern markets. 888 has suspended a number of VIP accounts from the region pending the results of the inquiry. Company officials have voiced confidence that the irregularities are isolated to this one, specific market.
Though the suspended accounts only account for about 3 percent of 888’s revenue, Pazner’s association with the company was clearly a valuable asset, at least that’s what investors think. 888’s stock price plunged 26 percent when news of Pazner’s departure hit the markets. According to Bloomberg, that’s the company’s biggest one-day drop since 2006 and puts the stock at right about where it was trading in March 2020.
Non–Executive Chair, Lord Mendelsohn will take the 888 CEO spot on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found. Filling Pazner’s shoes, however, could be a very difficult prospect. Pazner rose through the 888 ranks over a 20-year career and was appointed to the company’s top spot in 2019.
Mendelsohn praised Pazner in a statement saying, “Itai has played a very important role in building a business with powerful proprietary technology and has overseen successful early stages to the William Hill integration process. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”
The interim CEO also took a hard line on compliance issues adding, “We will be uncompromising in our approach to compliance as we build a strong and sustainable business.”