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Henrik Tjärnström has resigned from his position as the CEO of Kindred Group and will step down with immediate effect.

Chief commercial officer (CCO) Nils Andén has been appointed as his interim replacement.

Tjärnström first joined Kindred Group, then Unibet, as a non-executive director back in 2003.

He became the group’s chief financial officer (CFO) and deputy CEO in 2008, before taking on the CEO position in July 2010.  

Commenting on Tjärnström’s departure, Kindred Group chairman Evert Carlsson said: “Henrik has been at the helm through many important milestones passed by Kindred and has undoubtedly put his mark in both the history of the company and the industry.

“Thus, on behalf of the board of directors and all shareholders, I would like to thank Henrik for his valuable contributions to the success of Kindred throughout the years he has led the company and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

“Henrik has been at the helm through many important milestones passed by Kindred and has undoubtedly put his mark in both the history of the company and the industry.”

Evert Carlsson, chairman of Kindred Group’s board of directors

Second leadership departure

Tjärnström’s resignation marks the second departure from Kindred’s senior leadership team within the space of a week.

On Monday, the Stockholm-listed operator announced that CFO Johan Wilsby would also leave his position in Q3.

Kindred Group delivered poor financial performance in 2022, which “fell significantly short of management expectations”.

Total revenue declined by 15% to £1.07bn as underlying EBITDA fell by 61% to £129.2m.

Although in Q1 2023 revenue increased by 24%, the group revealed it was exploring strategic alternatives to drive shareholder value that could result in a merger or a sale of the whole company.

The business review was initiated in response to pressure from Corvex Management, a New York-based hedge fund and Kindred Group’s largest shareholder.

After Kindred’s unsatisfactory financial results in May, Corvex urged the Kindred board to promptly engage a prominent global financial adviser to evaluate strategic alternatives.

“I am very pleased with the board of directors’ choice of Nils Andén as the interim CEO, guaranteeing a smooth hand over,” Tjärnström stated briefly.

Who is Nils Andén?

Temporary successor Andén joined Kindred Group in 2020 as CCO for Scandinavia, East and South Europe and North America.

He worked for Kindred in the past, holding a number of positions between 2006 and 2016 as head of poker and head of established markets before spending four years as CMO of Unibet.

He has also held roles at CurrencyFair and as director of digital marketing at Entain (GVC as it was then).

“Nils is naturally very knowledgeable about the operations of Kindred, having worked with Henrik in the executive management team,” said Carlsson.  

“The board of directors deems that Nils is ideally suited to assume this role in these pivotal times for Kindred,” he added.

Andén commented: “I look very much forward to working closely with our board of directors, the executive management team and all employees to achieve the goals of Kindred.

“I have a strong belief in our organisation and the business models that have made this company so successful and am more confident than ever in Kindred’s potential.”

Despite Tjärnström’s departure, Kindred Group has reaffirmed its guidance for 2023, expecting to report a full-year underlying EBITDA of at least £200m.

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