Coolbet founder Jan Svendsen calls for an overhaul of GAN leadership

The leadership of GAN has come under fire from Jan Svendsen over the management of its Coolbet sportsbook subsidiary and further corporate matters.  

In a LinkedIn post titled ‘GAN needs new leadership’, Coolbet Founder Svendsen lambasted GAN Chief Executive Dermot Smurfit’s management of the company, its staff, key contracts and assets.

Svendsen, who sold Coolbet to GAN in 2021 for $175 million, underscored his disbelief that GAN had offered him no tenable leadership or boardroom position within the company following the takeover.

Having observed his non-compete clause, Svendsen stated that he was frozen out by Smurfit, with no influence on the integration of Coolbet or GAN’s wider corporate strategy.

“My problem now is that I currently hold 840,000 shares at GAN, and know personally that the leadership team at GAN is non-effective and the Board is weak,” Svendsen declared.

Svendsen remarked that he had scrutinised GAN’s ‘organisational structure’, which he described as an ‘ineffective mess’ with poor coordination of the firm’s IT unit of 260 developers.

GAN’s higher ranks were scathingly attacked, as Svendsen questioned why company executives were awarded bonuses for underperformance, as GAN reported corporate losses of $25 million during 2021 trading.

Svendsen remarked: “2021 was a horrible Year for GAN; GAN did not deliver on the bottom line and the share price dropped significantly.  

“Regardless, the leadership team gave themselves huge bonuses. Why? Aren’t bonuses something you should payout when you produce positive results?”

Dermot Smurfit’s leadership was questioned with regards to two casino contracts for ‘exclusive content’, that Svendsen believed were poorly negotiated and ‘very poor for GAN’. In his statement, he noted that Smurfit took no advice from him or Coolbet’s experienced casino team.

Further attacks were pinpointed at GAN’s corporate governance that was deemed to have little control over Smurfit as  CEO – something that Svendsen branded as the “yes Dermot board”.

Though critical of GAN, Svendsen said that the firm had a promising future that could be materialised should investors support Coolbet’s development of its B2C offering and GAN’s new B2B sportsbook vertical.

“The value of Coolbet on its own would be twice as much as GAN now. Coolbet is performing financially well in most markets, particularly in South America,” Svendsen continued.

“Clever developers are building the new GAN sports, which is the B2B version of the Coolbet software. That will be very good stuff and I’m confident it will be the best of its kind in the market.”

Svendsen signed off his statement by calling on GAN investors to support his call for a leadership and boardroom overhaul.

“I’m writing this with the hope that it can start a process, a process that leads to a new board and a new CEO of GAN.

“It’s a company with great potential because of what Coolbet brings to the table. We need a leader who can collect the troops and who respects all the employees of the company. Someone who can keep up the quality and be more vigilant about spending money.”

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