Bally’s CEO Lee Fenton leaves

  • After less than a year and a half in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Fenton
  • Robeson Reeves taking over
  • Fenton said 101 words

(exechange) — Providence, Rhode Island, February 13, 2023 — Lee Fenton, chief executive of Bally’s, leaves his position. As announced by Bally’s Corp. in a news release on Monday, February 13, 2023, Lee D. Fenton leaves his post as chief executive officer at the casino-entertainment company, after less than a year and a half in the role, effective March 31, 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.5 years. Around 12% of CEOs left their posts within two years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.

exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.

Lee Fenton’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Robeson M. Reeves, currently President – Interactive at Bally’s Corp.

“The time is right”

Lee Fenton’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Fenton stated: “It is particularly special for me to be able to hand the reigns to Robeson with whom I have worked for over 14 years. Robeson is a unique talent and the time is right for him to lead Bally’s.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.1% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.5%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.6% of cases), personal reasons (3.3%) and conduct issues (2.1%). Rather rarely stated reasons are career change (2.1% of cases), health problems (1.8%), disagreement (1.2%), death (0.9%) and the desire for more time with family (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.9% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Lee Fenton’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down”

Bally’s said: “Lee Fenton, CEO, will step down and Robeson Reeves, President – Interactive, will take over as CEO, effective March 31, 2023.”

Companies often provide less precise information in their corporate announcements than in regulatory filings, which are sometimes published with a considerable delay and therefore cannot always be included in the exechange analysis. In the present case, a regulatory filing regarding Lee Fenton’s move was not available at the time of the analysis.

Share price decline since October 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Bally’s Corp.’s share price of 64% since October 2021. October 2021 is the month in which Fenton’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2021

Lee Fenton became CEO of the Company in 2021.

Lee D. Fenton became Chief Executive Officer of Bally’s and joined the Board on October 1, 2021.

He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of Gamesys since July 2015.

He initially joined Gamesys in November 2008 as Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to joining Gamesys, he was Chief Operating Officer of the mobile division at 20th Century Fox, a film production studio, and, before that, Global Director of Consumer Products & Content at Vodafone Group plc, a British multinational telecommunications company.

He brings deep experience of working with global brands and managing operations across multiple markets.

Fenton graduated with a BA (Hons) in Media & Cultural Studies from the University of the West of England.

At the time of Lee Fenton’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Bally’s, Fenton had stated: “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Bally’s in the next phase of our evolution. Our business is transforming from being a regional casino operator into an industry leader in retail, sports, media and iGaming, which will see us bringing together a set of assets that gives us a formidable platform for growth as a digital-first leader in global gaming entertainment. With Gamesys now part of the Bally’s family, I look forward to delivering on the exciting opportunities ahead and continuing to create value for our shareholders, employees and customers in the years to come.”

101 words by Lee Fenton

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Bally’s Corp., Lee Fenton received praise, thanks and good wishes.

In announcing the leadership change, Lee Fenton said 101 words.

“Special for me”

Lee Fenton stated: “I want to thank Soo and the rest of the Board for my time at Bally’s and for the work through the transition to Robeson’s leadership. Bally’s is an extraordinary business with extraordinary people, and I want to thank each and every one of them for the support they have shown me and the commitment they continue to bring to the business. It is particularly special for me to be able to hand the reigns to Robeson with whom I have worked for over 14 years. Robeson is a unique talent and the time is right for him to lead Bally’s.”

Over the past 12 months, 26% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 110 words. The longest statement was 510 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long or no explanations for their move are statistically associated with elevated pressure and show an increased incidence of Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5.

35% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 337 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (February 13, 2022, to February 12, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.8, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When time with family, performance issues or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 35% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, one in three departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Pressure in the consumer discretionary sector well above the critical threshold

Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, health care and consumer staples sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, utilities and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the consumer discretionary sector, which includes Bally’s Corp., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.6, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the consumer discretionary sector, 23 exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were most likely forced out or faced strong pressure to step down.

Push-out Score for Lee Fenton’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Lee Fenton’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to Bally’s and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 8.2023 ($).