In case you didn't hear, PartyGaming announced yesterday that they had hired a new CEO. His name is Jim Ryan, and he has a wealth of experience in the industry. According to his bio, Jim Ryan has served as the CEO of St. Minver Limited, the CEO of Excapsa Software and the CFO of CryptoLogic, Inc. Ryan originally graduated from Brock University and is a Chartered Accountant. Given his experience in the industry, Ryan seems to be extremely well-suited for his role as the new CEO of PartyGaming. Ryan will replace Mitch Garber, who announced his intentions to leave PartyGaming and return to North America a couple of months ago.
Partygaming faces a number of challenges right now. The company is attempting to transition into a full-fledged online gaming business (rather than just an online poker room), but runs the risk of allowing their core business, online poker, to stagnate. Poker revenues were up only slightly from last year. The company is dealing with uneasy analysts and a shareholder base that have watched their shares drop precipitously over the last couple of years. Party Poker continues to lose market share and is currently the fourth largest poker network in the world (behind Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and the iPoker Network). They are dealing with a number of other issues as well, including continued negotiations with the United States government and their recent loss of exclusive sponsorship rights for the World Series of Poker.
Jim Ryan will be faced with a number of challenges, including:
1. Re-invigorating the customer base.
2. Luring back some of the higher value non-US players that have defected to other sites.
3. Dealing with the United States government.
4. Increasing market share in an extremely competitive market.
5. Convincing analysts and shareholders that he has a plan to turn the company around.
It will be interesting to see whether Ryan will choose to continue the company's policy of branching out into other markets (blackjack, sports betting, slot machines), or if he will instead choose to focus on PartyGaming's core business, online poker.
Ryan faces an uphill battle. Billions of dollars of market cap have been erased from PartyGaming over the past few years, and the company has clearly struggled in a post-UIGEA environment. One thing is for sure though - Jim Ryan will be extremely well-compensated for his efforts, if Mitch Garber's contract with PartyGaming is an indication. PartyGaming is not afraid to spend substantial sums of money to attract outside talent to run the company.
Filed Under: Online Poker Rooms