The insider trading charges that were brought against Amaya or, more specifically, the company’s CEO David Baazov have had quite an effect. Immediately after the charges went public, Baazov decided to step aside from his position, taking an “indefinite leave of absence.”
In the most recent development of events, the former CEO and the company have decided to part ways for good. Rafi Ashkenazi, who has been atthe helm of the company ever since Baazov stepped aside in late March 2016 will now be taking the CEO role full time.
Baazov officially resigns
On Thursday, August 11, David Baazov announced his resignation from all positions in Amaya, the owner-company of PokerStars. The man who helped the company grow into an online gambling giant that it is today will no longer have an active role in any decision making processes.
The company issued a press release yesterday, announcing this latest development. However, no particularities about former CEO’s decision have been disclosed. It is safe to assume that the move happened under the pressure from shareholders in light of the March charges.
I am proud of my contributions in building Amaya into the successful company it is today, and continue to be supportive of its strategy and management. David Baazov for the press release
The company’s future
After his initial announcement about stepping aside, Baazov made it clear that the decision had no bearing on his intention of buying Amaya. Previous to unfortunate events, he officially stated that he entered negotiations with a group of investors intent on buying the entire company.
Although it wasn’t mentioned explicitly, it would seem that possibility is still on the table. The press release made it clear that the Special Committee is still looking into buyout possibilities and the former CEO’s proposal wasn’t mentioned either way.
This seems to suggest that although he is currently not actively involved with the company, Baazov’s long term plans remain unchanged. Of course, a lot of it will depend on the outcome of the insider trading investigation and due processes.
What about PokerStars?
Many poker players seem to be convinced that Baazov was the main guilty party for a majority of the negative changes that have happened since the Amaya takeover. If this were true, him being out of picture completely would be a positive development for all players out there.
However, it is hard to imagine that just one man is responsible for the new direction the company has been taking. It is true that the former CEO played a major role in the takeover process but he was not the only person in charge for planning the business strategy.
The sales negotiations are also underway and should these come to fruition, the future of PokerStars will heavily depend on the person or company that ends up buying Amaya. At this point, all possibilities are still open. Perhaps PokerStars will find its way to the hands of a proper poker enthusiast…
We can hope, at least.