The business on...Breon Corcoran, Chief Executive, Betfair


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The Independent Online

The favourite won!

Yes, which is something bookmakers won't want to hear today, the first really big Saturday of the jumps season.

The big race is sponsored by Paddy Power, the company Betfair's new boss, Breon Corcoran, is leaving, where he was second in command. Even Betfair's critics concede it has picked the right horse.

But will he be a champion at the end of the season?

Ah, now that's going to be more difficult. Mr Corcoran has a very good pedigree, though. He's had Paddy Power's highly successful remote gambling (industry speak for telephone and internet) operation under his control. Which is good news given Betfair's all about remote gambling.

There are some fences to jump though, aren't there?

The two companies are poles apart culturally. Paddy Power relentlessly plays up Its Irishness and is a PR whizz. "The punter's pal" blitzes customers with offers and specials. At the same time it is also a hard commercial success. Betfair's PR approach has been much more aggressive, snapping at other bookies. But as an exchange it needs to heed both sides of the betting transaction.

Can he do it?

Well he's very bright, being a graduate of Dublin's Trinity College with an MBA from the French business school Insead. He also knows about human resources, which was part of his remit at Paddy Power.

Why does that matter?

Because many analysts reckon Betfair has too many people at its Hammersmith HQ. If it comes to firing people, Mr Corcoran will need all his charm to keep the remaining staff onside.