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With comings and goings commonplace across the industry, Epic Risk Management and Square in the Air are among those to have bolstered their teams, while Andrew Cochrane and Melvin Ritsema seek pastures new.

Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise

Brian Parish is to depart Chief Executive Officer duties of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise as of September 5, 2023, to pursue other employment opportunities. 

As a result of an over nine and a half year stint coming to an end, Matthew Shunkamolah, a member of the Navajo Nation, will assume interim CEO responsibilities.

“The board is extremely grateful to Brian for his leadership and commitment to the growth and development of the Gaming Enterprise” said Board Chair Quincy Natay

“Under Brian’s leadership, over 84 per cent of our work force are members of the Navajo Nation, and of our 275 leadership positions, 71 per cent are in management and executive leadership positions.

“Brian worked hard to ensure that our team members are taken care of and launched a competitive wage study that was subsequently implemented making a significant difference for many of our employees.”

EPIC Risk Management

Former Premier League and international footballer Simon Haworth has been welcomed as the latest member to the EPIC Risk Management team that is tasked with delivering its education sessions on gambling-related harm.

The ex-Wales, Coventry City, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic forward recently the consultancy’s long-standing partners WHYSUP as a programme facilitator, and as an extension of that arrangement, he will join group founder Mark Murray in supporting EPIC’s session delivery across a range of sectors as an associate.

“It’s brilliant how EPIC raise awareness and educate. It means a lot to me to be able to share my lived experience within the sports industry,” he explained:

“I’m looking forward to being part of the EFL programme we deliver, and the prospect of the MLS Players Association sessions too.

“I’m really interested in working in the horse racing arena as well; this is an especially rewarding area of work for me, as my gambling addiction was betting on the horses.

“It’s a nice progression from a recent personal project, where I co-founded a podcast called Football Untold where players are interviewed with a focus on their mental health.

“I absolutely love sharing my lived experience; I really enjoy doing it as it’s very powerful. It’s really therapeutic as part of my recovery too.”

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority has disclosed the results of a change to its management board as a result of a general election that four of the nine seats on the tribal council chosen pursuant to staggered term provisions in its constitution.

The governing body of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut revealed that Joseph Soper, Thayne Hutchins Jr, John Harris, and Kim Baker were elected on a four-year term, commencing October 2, 2023.

The former trio are currently members of the tribal council, while Baker will succeed Patricia LaPierre, who did not seek re-election, but will remain a member of the Tribal Council until her successor is seated.

Square in the Air

Square in the Air has appointed Brett Smiley as Vice President of US Operations as the company continues its expansion of North America.

Smiley, a seasoned trade Journalist in the US sports betting and igaming industry, has been tasked with overseeing strategy and delivery for the clients of Square in the Air in North America, as well as driving business development for the firm.

“This is a real coup for Square in the Air,” said Ben Cleminson, Director at Square in the Air. “I’ve known Brett for the past six or seven years and I couldn’t speak highly enough about him.

“He is a real expert when it comes to the sports betting and igaming landscape, a fantastic writer and has a contact book as deep as they come. We are really excited to see what we can build together.”

Andrew Cochrane

Andrew Cochrane has called time on an almost three and half year stay as Senior Vice President of Commercial at Draftkings to take up an unspecified B2B role “in the coming months”.

Prior to the time at operator he occupied the positions of Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Business Development Officer at SBTech, which combined with DraftKings in an agreement that also comprised Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp almost four years ago. 

“It’s time for me to move on from DraftKings and rather than doing a Harry Kane and saying my goodbyes and one hour later posting about my new role in a different shirt I thought I would give DraftKings the credit they deserve and separate the two,” he wrote on social media.

“It has been a rewarding journey with great memories of signing ground-breaking partnerships and I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most exceptional people in the industry.”

Flutter Entertainment

John Bryant has been appointed as Chair of the Flutter Entertainment board and Chair of the nomination committee, effective today (September 1, 2023).

As previously announced on April 27, 2023, he will succeed Gary McGann who stepped down from the board on August 31, 2023.

“I would like to thank Gary for his excellent stewardship of the Flutter Board during his tenure as Chair and previously as non-executive director.,” Bryant noted.

“His expertise, professionalism and commitment are greatly appreciated and on behalf of the Board, I wish Gary well in the future.”

Melvin Ritsema

A self-proclaimed “end of an era” has been declared by Melvin Ritsema, with the LeoVegas General Manager set to depart after a journey that spans a fraction over a decade.

Following positions of Head of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer at Royal Panda, he became Managing Director and then Commercial Performance Director at LeoVegas following a December 2017 €60m buy-out. He ascended to the role of GM in February 2021.

“It’s been an amazing journey of almost 10 years, that started in a converted house in a small village in the Netherlands with just a handful of people,” he reflected on social media. 

“From the early days of Royal Panda, being involved with almost every activity of the organisation I had the chance to contribute, learn and grow into the role of CMO and eventually Managing Director. 

“After we merged the business with LeoVegas, I became General Manager – ROW Leovegas and most recently had the opportunity to start some new strategic projects. 

“On top of that, I had the honour to be a culture and leadership trainer for 50+ leaders/managers of the group. What a fantastic decade.”