Amaya Prepares for a Fresh Reboot in a New LocationPublished June 29, 2017 by Lee R
Shareholders have approved relocation and restructuring to launch the new Amaya era.
Amaya has a new look, and a new venue within its home country of Canada as it looks to the future.
Amaya’s new plans for a rebrand as The Stars Group Inc. were finalised at its last annual general meeting in Montreal on Wednesday as shareholders approved the new name to reflect the dominance of the group’s flagship PokerStars brand.
With the switch officially scheduled for August, the rebrand will also put further distance between the unsightly association with David Baazov. The company’s former CEO is currently under indictment for insider trading in Amaya’s 2014 acquisition of PokerStars parent company Rational Group, charges for which he will be tried in November.
Toronto was chosen over Quebec as the spot where Amaya could “more effectively manage its business and affairs.”
The first stage of Amaya’s new office implementation includes the placing of 20 key staff in the office in downtown Toronto in July, with another 300 Amaya technology staffers currently working in the northern Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill.
Amaya will leave a minimal 15-person finance team in Montreal’s Griffintown.
At the shareholder meeting, CEO Rafi Ashkenazi, who replaced Baazov, also alluded to a poker deal with the emerging market of India in the works, calling India “quite an exciting market” based on the scale of its billion plus population of 1.3b souls and high smartphone penetration. Ashkenazi further projected India’s online poker market to be worth as much as $150m in a few years.
Ashkenazi also has his eyes set on Asia and the United States.
Amaya has also brought on former Playtech and Scientific Games veteran Jerry Bowskill as the company’s new chief technology officer.
While some other senior level new hires are expected in the transition, the general personnel structure will remains stable, with senior executives Divyesh Gadhia, Harlan Goodson, Alfred Hurley Jr., David Lazzarto, Peter Murphy and Mary Turner all retaining their roles as directors within the company.
Gadhia will continue as chairman of the board; Lazzarto will chair the Audit Committee, and Hurley the Corporate Governance, Nominating and Compensation Committee.
CEO Sets Course
Via conference call, Ashkenazi said of the moves:
"As we undergo this transformation, we look to embrace the future of our business while also recognizing the incredible consumer goodwill and loyalty associated with our primary brand."
As for that primary brand, since it’s founding in 2004, Amaya has risen to become the largest publicly listed online poker brand in the world after purchasing PokerStars parent for US $4.9 billion.
Amaya seems to be doing what it takes to move on from the Baazov incident, and investors and industry insiders keeping an open mind may yet see a true Phoenix rise from the ashes for one of iGaming’s earliest stars and pioneers.