Light & Wonder appoints Matt Wilson as interim CEO

August 30, 2022 11:42 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
August 30, 2022 11:42 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

Light & Wonder President and CEO Barry Cottle has stepped down and Matt Wilson, Light & Wonder’s executive vice president and group chief executive of gaming, has been appointed interim CEO.

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Cottle, a member of the company’s board of directors, will support the transition as a consultant.

The company’s board announced that it has launched a search to identify a permanent CEO and has engaged a leading national executive-search firm. The search builds on the board’s well-established succession-planning process and will include both internal and external candidates, the company said.

“As we enter the next chapter of our growth journey, we are confident that now is the right time to make this leadership transition,” said Jamie Odell, executive chair of Light & Wonder. “Our Executive Vice Chair, Toni Korsanos, and I have worked closely with Matt for over 10 years, including most recently as he has successfully worked to turn around and reposition Light & Wonder’s gaming business for long-term growth. His strategic insights, deep industry knowledge, rich experience, and impressive track record make him the ideal person to serve as interim CEO during this transition period.”

In his role as Light & Wonder’s executive vice president and group chief executive of gaming in which he will remain, Wilson, who has 20 years in the gaming industry, led the strategic-growth plans for the gaming team, while overseeing product development, production, supply chain, and sales of the company’s gaming products, systems, and services.

“I am honored to take on the role of interim CEO during this exciting time for our company,” Wilson said. “With a streamlined organization, sharpened strategic focus, and strengthened balance sheet, we are better positioned than ever to capitalize on the incredible opportunities ahead for the business.”

Odell thanked Cottle for his contributions toward reshaping the company and positioning it for continued success. With a transformed balance sheet, continued strong business momentum, and “great progress executing on our capital-allocation priorities, we see a tremendous opportunity to drive shareholder value. We look forward to working closely with Matt and the rest of the management team as we continue to execute on our strategic roadmap and deliver on our growth targets.”

Light & Wonder, Inc., formerly known as Scientific Games Corporation, is a global leader in cross-platform games and entertainment. The company has more than 5,000 employees on six continents.

Prior to joining Light & Wonder, Wilson served as president and managing director Americas at Aristocrat. During his tenure there, he also served as senior vice president of global gaming operations and senior vice president of sales and marketing Americas. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Wollongong and completed the Advanced Management Program at Wharton Business School.

Barry Jonas, an analyst with Truist Securities, wrote a note to investors saying that they were surprised by Cottle “leaving so immediately” and thought he would stay until his contract expired in May 2024.

“This feels like a natural phase for leadership transition – with LNW moving from transformation to execution,” Jonas wrote. “Quick management transitions also are not unusual for the company. We’ve always thought of Mr. Wilson as the next CEO and feel he’s the best candidate for the permanent seat. We would expect a relatively quick eight-to-ten-week process.”

Jonas said LNW remains buy-rated and this doesn’t change anything regarding its positive view.