PartyGaming duo quit the board

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The Independent Online

The company announced yesterday that Anurag Dikshit, the company's operations director and technology guru, would step down from the board to focus on the development of new products and platforms as head of research and special projects. A spokesman for PartyGaming said: "He's the best technology brains we've got. He just revels in developing new products and platforms. All our technology is proprietary and most of it is Anurag."

Vikrant Bhargava, 35, the marketing director, will also step down from the board and leave the company at the end of the year to pursue other, unspecified interests. PartyGaming has started looking for a replacement both within and outside the company, but hopes to retain him as an adviser after he leaves.

Mr Dikshit made £421m when the company listed last June at the height of the internet poker frenzy, and still holds a 31 per cent stake in the business. Mr Bhargava made £61.5m in the float and has an 8.6 per cent holding. It was unclear yesterday whether he would sell his stake when he leaves. All company founders are locked into their shares until the end of June.

Shares in PartyGaming and other online gaming operators had a rough ride earlier this year on fears that US politicians would clamp down on the industry. More recently the shares have recovered as the prospect of draconian legislation being passed receded. PartyGaming reported record sales last month, prompting several analysts to upgrade their earnings estimates.

The shares closed up 0.25p at 131.25p yesterday.