Allwyn UK has told SBC that Robert Chvátal has taken over as interim CEO as part of changes to its executive leadership ahead of a transformative period for the company as it prepares to take the reins of the UK National Lottery.
The CEO of Allwyn Group, Chvátal has taken over the UK division on a temporary basis as David Craven leaves the business with immediate effect.
As Allwyn UK works towards a ‘shortened’ transition towards taking over the UK National Lottery in February 2024, the board of directors has taken action after describing a ‘different landscape to what was anticipated during the competition phase of the process’.
Citing the need for a ‘streamlined’ leadership, Allwyn confirmed the desire for a ‘different type of leadership’, resulting in the departure of Craven, who took over in July 2021 and was charged with overseeing the bidding process for the fourth National Lottery licence.
Craven commented on his departure: “I am immensely proud of what the team have delivered and the part I have been able to play over these last two years in leading them.
“I recognise that the next period requires a different leadership approach, better connected to our group, and the leadership team of the outgoing licensee, Camelot UK Limited, and this is therefore the right time for change.”
After being named the preferred bidder for the next National Lottery licence last March, the transition period was delayed by High Court proceedings brought by current incumbents Camelot, as well as its tech provider IGT and other bidders in the process.
But after political pressure and the threat of bringing the National Lottery’s operations to a halt and costing good causes over £600m, Camelot decided to cease its case against the decision.
Whilst IGT has continued to take action against the UK Gambling Commission’s decision, Allwyn has agreed to purchase Camelot’s UK operations from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
As well as transitioning to the lottery licence in just over a year, the company anticipates that it will close the Camelot acquisition ‘in the coming weeks’, highlighting the need for a streamlined leadership team.
Taking over Allwyn UK operations, Chvátal added: “My appointment makes clear the full commitment of the Allwyn Group to the success of the UK National Lottery. We are immensely proud of having been entrusted with the stewardship of this national institution as the operator for the ten years of the Fourth Licence. We will bring the full force of the group to ensure a successful transition from the Third Licence.
“I look forward to working with our UK team and partners, along with colleagues from throughout the Allwyn Group to deliver on our commitment for a bigger, better and safer National Lottery.”
In the meantime, the group will begin its search for a permanent successor to Craven who will be charged with leading Allwyn’s initial 10-year period as the lottery incumbent.
The search will be led by Justin King, Chairman of Allwyn UK, who joined the company last year following its preferred bidder status.
Former CEO of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s plc, King served on as an advisory board member before agreeing to lead the board into the new era.
King explained the recent developments: “I would like to thank David for his significant contribution since he joined us in July 2021.
“He led the team that won the bid to operate the Fourth Licence and has guided it whilst the various legal challenges have been addressed, since we were awarded Preferred Applicant status in March 2022. He leaves with our thanks for a job well done.”