Esports Entertainment Group CEO “deeply disappointed” after being ousted by board of directors

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Former Esports Entertainment Group CEO Grant Johnson has taken to LinkedIn to express his disappointment at being fired by the company’s board of directors.

Johnson, who founded Esports Entertainment Group in 2014, led the operator as chief executive for the best part of nine years before being ousted from his combined role as CEO and chairman on 3 December 2022.

Johnson’s exit was confirmed this week with the company in a dire financial position. With a market cap of just $7.5m, the bulk of its iGaming assets have now been put up for sale.

Johnson described the moment he was dismissed as a “sad day” and revealed he was removed from his position because the board felt he was “uncooperative” in some of their objectives.

“Putting my deep disappointment aside, I would prefer to focus on the positive elements,” said Johnson in a lengthy LinkedIn post.

“The eight-year journey has been one with many ups and downs and I suspect there are lots of opinions regarding the journey given the current market, and understandably I imagine many are negative.

“However as anyone who has ever met me knows, I had endless energy for the company and the people at EEG. I always maintained a deep passionate belief in what we were doing.

“I just want to say thank you to the many wonderful people that I had the opportunity to work with along the way,” he added.

Johnson went on to thank more than 40 individuals for their contribution over the years, as well as the “good people” at the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Caesars Entertainment board member Jan Jones Blackhurst has now taken over as chairman of Esports Entertainment Group.

The board of directors – now led by Blackhurst – have ignited the process to hire a new permanent CEO.

They are also considering a merger offer from an unnamed third-party for the company’s remaining assets and intellectual property.

“Clearly, I will need to make changes here on my profile as I am no longer the CEO and Chairman of EEG, a company I founded and loved,” said Johnson, whose LinkedIn profile now reads ‘entrepreneur’.

“It all started as a simple idea when Ken Silva took me to my first esports Championship, StarCraft Nov 2014, and I have been addicted since.

“I will miss all of you deeply and I look forward to opportunities where I can again work with you,” added Johnson, who previously served as president of both Health Net International and Halifax International Trading Ltd.

The post received nearly 100 likes and 40 comments, one of which came from Esports Entertainment Group CTO and board member John Brackens.

“As you said, we had some ups and downs,” wrote Brackens. “Still, through it all, we accomplished some incredible feats, from our Nasdaq IPO during a global pandemic to launching the first regulator-approved esports betting brand in the US.”

About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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