Scientific Games Corporation announced a major senior management shakeup in which Barry Cottle, currently CEO of the SG Interactive division, will replace Kevin Sheehan as president and CEO of the company effective June 1.
Sheehan, whose two years as CEO have seen a complete restructuring and an overall positive transformation of Scientific Games’ revenue picture and balance sheet, will remain with the company as a “senior advisor.” The company gave no explanation of the reason for the management shift.
In his two years as CEO, Sheehan overhauled the management team, appointing top-flight executives to manage each of the three divisions—gaming, lottery and interactive—formed after the multiple mergers that created the current end-to-end supplier that is Scientific Games. He also is credited with loading the supplier for future growth in the emerging legal sports-betting market with the acquisition of NYX Gaming and its industry-leading OpenBet sports-betting platform.
Prior to his August 2016 appointment as CEO of Scientific Games, Sheehan had achieved success in turning the fortunes around for Norwegian Cruise Lines as its CEO, which followed other successes at Cendant Corporation, the founding of Spanish-language television network Telemundo, and a number of other milestones.
When Sheehan joined the company, multiple acquisitions had left Scientific Games with debt that hovered around 8 times EBITDA. Less than a year and a half later, it was around 6.7 times and still falling. Scientific Games’ stock price, over the same period, rose six-fold, and its bonds went from selling at a discount to selling at a premium.
Cottle joined Scientific Games as chief executive of SG Interactive in August 2015. Prior to that, he had been senior vice president of Disney TeleVentures, creating online experiences for Walt Disney Company; executive vice president, interactive for Electronic Arts, growing that company’s online and mobile game division; and executive vice president/chief revenue officer for Zynga, helping to build its now-enviable stable of online and mobile games.
Immediately before Scientific Games, as vice chairman of Deluxe Entertainment, he helped drive digital innovation including the launch of virtual reality in 2015.
In two years heading SG Interactive, Cottle led the team to double revenue growth and Scientific Games’ efforts to enter sports betting and iLottery through the NYX/OpenBet acquisition.
Along with the changes at the top, Scientific Games announced that Tim Bucher, previously senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Solutions Group at Seagate Technology, has been named executive vice president and chief product officer across all Scientific Games’ business divisions.
Bucher is a Silicon Valley veteran who has created several successful companies which have either been taken public or acquired by tech giants including Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Seagate Technology over the past three decades. He has served in executive product roles directly for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Michael Dell, learning from those iconic entrepreneurs how to innovate and grow businesses.