The business on... David Yu, Chief executive, Betfair
Tuesday 28 June 2011
Carrying the can?
Well Betfair's shares have lost around 50 per cent of their value since last year's float, so investors have been getting twitchy. The company said yesterday Mr Yu had told the board that after 10 years at the top he didn't plan to renew his contract (it ends next year). Ed Wray, the chairman, said he understands "why after 10 years David would like to start thinking about the next stage of his career". Still, while it's all being done nicely, Mr Yu is out.
How have investors reacted?
Analysts have largely welcomed the news. But let's be fair. Mr Yu more than doubled revenues while staff numbers trebled to over 2,000 on his watch. So, Mr Wray, and co-founder Andrew "Bert" Black, have reasons to be grateful. And Mr Yu can hardly be blamed for the regulatory squeeze that has constrained Betfair's international charge.
How was his PR?
Not great. The charismatic Mr Wray is more of a front man. Mr Yu was brought on board in Betfair's early days when it joined forces with Flutter, an internet betting company. He headed up the technology side of the operation, and did a great job. But the boss of a plc is expected to be a communicator, who's as comfortable shmoozing investors and the media as he is running a business.
Will he bounce back?
Well it's not as if tech whizzes such as Mr Yu, 43, grow on trees. The Silicon Valley boy got his first degree, in computer science and electrical engineering from the highly regarded University of California at Berkeley, and a masters from Stanford. He then spent 20 years with internet and technology businesses, joining Flutter from Altavista, which was something of a noise in the internet search business BG (before Google).
What are his plans?
Well, he'll continue working his socks off for now. But when he departs he's likely to indulge his enthusiasm for travel, and with a £500,000 package and a big chunk of Betfair shares, he'll be able to do it first class. Like many Californians, he's also not unfond of a drop of vino. What about vineyard back home?
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