Wall Street reacted almost immediately to the news that Lorne Weil was back at the helm of Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS).
Within days of the announcement, shares of SGMS moved up from a moribund $6.63 per share to a more robust $8.66 at the close of trading on Friday.
Weil, whose most recent role has been as company chairman, moves back to his CEO role, replacing Michael Chambrello, who will now head the company’s Asia-Pacific region.
Vice Chairman David L. Kennedy, will fill the newly-created position of executive vice chairman and will focus on enhancing the company’s operational performance.
Weil was the CEO when the company was known as Autotote and led the country in providing wagering machine and software services to a majority of North American racetracks.
When he took the post, the company’s revenues were less than $50 million. When he switched positions to company chairman, the company, now called Scientific Games following its acquisition of the country’s foremost producer of instant lottery tickets, revenues topped $1 billion.
Recently, the company seemed to be languishing after having lost a couple of key lottery contracts so the management shakeup, and particularly the return of Lorne Weil as a key player, was warmly welcomed by investors.
Also appreciated, it appeared, was the expansion of the executive staff to a three-man team, lead by Weil, with support from Chambrello and Kennedy.
“One of our key initiatives has been to expand our presence in China where we see meaningful opportunity for growth,” Weil commented following the announcement.
“We’ve had significant success in China in a very short period of time. That said, we believe the growth potential is much greater than we have realized to date. We’ve determined that we need to devote significantly more senior management time and personnel to further developing our China business. As the original architect of our China expansion initiatives, Mike Chambrello is extremely well-suited to spearhead our strategy and execution in this key jurisdiction,” he added.
“David Kennedy,” he said, “will be part of the expanded team that will lead Scientific Games in its next phase of growth. I look forward to working closely with David, Mike our CFO Jeff Lipkin, and the rest of our team to re-invigorate and restore growth to our business.”
Among the key growth initiatives cited by Weil were:
Become the pre-eminent supplier of server-based gaming machines in both the U.K. and North America;
Further develop the international instant ticket market in North America, international jurisdictions, and especially in China;
Increase product sales by tailoring the company’s products to suit all retail outlets;
Develop and deliver new content, and
Expand utilization of the Internet and interactive technologies.