FanDuel Founder and CEO Nigel Eccles Steps Down
Nigel Eccles, the founder, and CEO of daily fantasy sports platform FanDuel, announced Monday that he will be leaving the company. FanDuel released a statement in which Eccles said that he is leaving in order “to focus on his next venture.” Per Eccles’ Twitter account, his next venture has something to do with eSports.
Excited but a little bit sad to be leaving @fanduel today. It has been an amazing 8 years. Really excited to see how Matt King and the team drive the company in 2018 and beyond. For me I'm building something awesome in eSports. Watch this space.
— Nigel Eccles (@nigeleccles) November 20, 2017
FanDuel’s former CFO, Matt King, will be promoted to occupy Eccles’ vacated CEO post effective immediately. King will also join the company’s board of directors.
Via press release, Eccles said, “With his [King’s] strategic vision, range of experiences, and broad skill set, I cannot imagine a better individual to steer FanDuel forward. With tremendous legislative strides in the past two years and the business moving into profitability in Q4, FanDuel is in a great position. I know Matt is the leader to capitalize on the momentum in the sports technology space to take FanDuel to the next level.”
FanDuel was among the very first to capitalize on the fantasy sports boom late in the last decade. Eccles founded the company in 2009 and it quickly rose to prominence as something of a pioneer in the world of daily fantasy sports. FanDuel was not the first DFS platform, but it was the first to gain the attention of investors and the general public as a whole. The only other DFS company to have rivaled FanDuel’s success is its chief rival, DraftKings, which was founded in 2012.
Eccles leaves FanDuel as a second-place competitor to DraftKings. News of his departure comes just a few months after a proposed merger between the two companies was abandoned due to monopoly concerns. The Federal Trade Commission moved to block the merger from happening back in June, which caused the respective companies to consider alternative plans.
Matt King and Fellow Newcomers
King, who spent time with FanDuel in 2014, was previously a director at the investment management firm known as Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts and Co. KKR happens to be one of FanDuel’s biggest investors. King also most recently served as the President of Regional Operations and Corporate Development at Cottingham and Butler.
King, 38, issued a statement of his own, in which he said, “It’s an incredible honor to return to FanDuel at such an exciting time for the company. Over the past eight years, Nigel has built one of the most disruptive companies in the sports world. I look forward to working with our talented team to make FanDuel the place for fans to engage with sports they love in new and exciting ways.” King will be based out of the company’s headquarters in New York City.
FanDuel also announced that Carl Vogel has been appointed as Chairman of the Board. David Nathanson will also join as an independent Director. Vogel spent time in the past as the Vice-Chairman and President of DISH Network as well as President and CEO of Charter Communications. Nathanson spent 21 years in a variety of roles at 21st Century FOX. He was most recently the Head of Business Operations at FOX Sports Media Group, but he has also served in the role of General Manager and COO at FOX Sports 1.
The FanDuel board of directors issued a statement, saying, “Nigel achieved something remarkable – he completely redefined an existing industry. His passion, intelligence and focus have been the bedrock of FanDuel’s success. We would like to offer our sincere thanks as he leaves to pursue his next venture. We are excited to work with Matt again. He is an exceptional executive who knows the business intimately and has a clear vision for its next phase of growth.”
While it has been surpassed in the DFS market by DraftKings, FanDuel is still comfortably ahead of other competitors in the market such as Draft, FantasyDraft and Yahoo. DraftKings has more active users than FanDuel, though the gap in revenue between the companies is much more narrow.
FanDuel offers users the chance to play fantasy sports contests in order to win money. The site currently hosts contests for NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and WNBA in addition to a variety of soccer options.
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