Light & Wonder ignites search for new CEO as Barry Cottle steps down

Vegas-based gambling supplier Light & Wonder is on the hunt for a new chief executive after president and CEO Barry Cottle stepped down.

Matt Wilson, executive vice president and group chief exec of gaming, has been appointed interim CEO in a dual capacity with his current role.

While Cottle will support a transition as a consultant, Light & Wonder has commenced a search process to identify a permanent CEO and has engaged an unnamed US executive search firm to run the rule over both internal and external candidates.

Wilson is a seasoned executive with nearly 20 years of gaming industry experience. In his current role, he led the strategic growth plans for the gaming team while overseeing product development, production, supply chain and sales of the company’s gaming products, systems and services.

Prior to joining Light & Wonder, he served as president and managing director of the Americas at Aristocrat. During his tenure with Aristocrat, he also served as senior vice president of global gaming operations, and senior vice president of sales and marketing, Americas.

Light & Wonder executive chair Jamie Odell: “As we enter the next chapter of our growth journey as the leading cross-platform global game company, we are confident that now is the right time to make this leadership transition.”

“As we enter the next chapter of our growth journey as the leading cross-platform global game company, we are confident that now is the right time to make this leadership transition,” said Jamie Odell, executive chair of Light & Wonder.

“Our executive vice chair, Toni Korsanos, and I have worked closely with Matt for over 10 years, including most recently as he has successfully worked to turn around and reposition Light & Wonder’s gaming business for long-term growth.

“We are confident that his strategic insights, deep industry knowledge, rich experience and impressive track record make him the ideal person to serve as interim CEO during this transition period,” he added.

Commenting on his appointment, Wilson said: “With a streamlined organisation, sharpened strategic focus and strengthened balance sheet, we are now better positioned than ever to capitalise on the incredible opportunities ahead for the business.”

“I look forward to working closely with the rest of the leadership team in this new capacity as we continue to accelerate our progress as a sustainable growth company,” he added.

In March, Scientific Games rebranded as Light & Wonder as part of a move to focus exclusively on iGaming.

In Q2, the company managed to transform its balance sheet and reduce net debt while completing the sale of its lottery division to Brookfield Business Partners.

In addition, Light & Wonder has struck a deal to sell its sports betting business to US media conglomerate Endeavor, under an amended agreement with total gross proceeds of $800m. The transaction is expected to close by end of Q3 2022.

About the author

Sonja Lindenberg

Sonja Lindenberg is an experienced editor and journalist, with a strong focus on business, finance, trade and investment. She holds a degree in business journalism and throughout the past two decades has covered companies and industries in various markets and for different media, including newspapers, news agencies, inflight magazines, country reports and trade publications. Sonja joined iGaming NEXT in June 2022.

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