Mecca Bingo Director Moves On

Published Thursday, May 21, 2009 -

Rank Group has made some changes in it's infrastructure by parting ways with Mecca Bingo's managing director. In order to improve the company's stock performance the decision to cut the director was acted upon immediately.
Simon Wykes, the managing director of Mecca since 2006 is 39 years old and on his second stint with the Rank Group. He has decided to leave as soon as he was told of the decision rather serving out a handover period, but he will receive a year's salary and contractual entitlements.

The Chief Executive Officer of Rank Group Ian Burke, will assume the directorship of Mecca Bingo's 103 clubs pending the arrival of a new managing director. Analysts consulting Mr Burke advise bringing in a leisure or retail operator without direct gaming experience in a bid to bring in some fresh ideas.

Mr. Burke has gone outside gaming to find both Rank's other divisional heads in the past. Burke recruited Phil Urban, a former divisional managing director at Whitbread and Scottish & Newcastle, to run Grosvenor Casinos. In December he named Mark Jones, founder of Online Travel Corporation, as managing director of Blue Square, its interactive gaming business. Mr. Burke said, "We have entered a new phase in our strategy, as we look to move beyond stabilization to rebuilding Mecca Bingo's profits."

Mr.Burke praised Mr. Wykes's efforts to stabilize Mecca Bingo's slumping profits. Many outside influences caused the slowdown including the smoking ban at bingo halls the new taxation goals and the scrapping of the lucrative section 21 gaming machines. A recent profit growth in April with Mecca up a megar 1 percent for the first time in over four months Mr.Burke is gambling on the hope that new management from outside the box will have a positive effect like those experienced by Grosvenor Casinos and Blue Square.

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