Slot machine maker and online games provider Aristocrat Leisure Ltd said on Thursday that Hector Fernandez would be the new chief executive of Aristocrat Gaming, the group’s unit for land-based gaming products and services.
The news was given by Trevor Croker, the group CEO, in an address to the annual general meeting.
At the same time, Mitchell Bowen, who had been chief executive of the land-based business, is to head a new business unit of the group that will work to expand the brand’s online real-money gaming segment.
Mr Fernandez joined the Aristocrat group just over three years ago, as chief financial officer of Aristocrat Americas, before being made president of that unit in mid-2019.
In Thursday’s statement, Mr Croker said: “Throughout his time at Aristocrat, Hector has championed fresh thinking and high performance and worked with a talented team to solidify our Americas business as the market pacesetter, and the supplier of choice.”
Discussing Mr Bowen’s move, the group CEO said the Aristocrat brand had been “investing in building online real-money gaming capabilities in-house over the past year”.
Mr Croker added the global business would “invest strongly in building out our own online real-money gaming platform infrastructure while also undertaking select merger and acquisition partnerships, and talent acquisitions to accelerate progress wherever appropriate.”
The group boss said that Mr Bowen’s “strategic and operational impact” had been “evident” in the three years he had led the land-based business, which had seen “outstanding momentum” and recovery from Covid-19 related disruptions, as well as “excellent staff engagement and an unwavering customer focus”.
The new real-money gaming unit will be the third element in the Aristocrat brand’s corporate structure, alongside Aristocrat Gaming and Pixel United. The latter was formerly known as Aristocrat Digital, and is the umbrella for the group’s social gaming brands, Product Madness, Plarium and Big Fish Games.
In other commentary for Thursday’s annual general meeting, Neil Chatfield, the group chairman, told shareholders that although there had been a “disappointing outcome” regarding Aristocrat Leisure’s circa AUD3.9-billion (US$2.8 billion) cash offer to take over gaming software provider Playtech Plc, the firm would maintain a “disciplined” merger and acquisition strategy.
“While we will be ambitious and flexible in pursuing opportunities, we will never compromise on this core commitment just to get a deal done or for short-term expedience,” stated Mr Chatfield.
In November, Aristocrat Leisure reported annual revenues up 14.4 percent, and profit up 81.4 percent, year-on-year.
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