Tatts finance chief takes petrol punt and exits for United Petroleum
DANIEL PALMER, Herald Sun
September 21, 2016 9:00pm
GAMING heavyweight Tatts is shaking up its senior executive ranks, with chief financial officer Neale O’Connell standing down.
Mr O’Connell, who has served in the role for three years, has opted to return from Brisbane to Melbourne to take on the same role at petrol retailer United Petroleum.
That move comes ahead of the expected float in coming months of the petrol station chain, which also yesterday named former Coles executive Gary Brinkworth its new chief executive.
Mr O’Connell’s departure comes after 12 years with Tatts — a stint that began when the group was based in Melbourne.
The lotteries operator has five months to find a replacement before Mr O’Connell officially departs in February.
“It is disappointing to see Neale leave as he has been a key member of my executive team over the last three years. However, I understand completely the attraction of returning home to Melbourne with his family,” Tatts chief Robbie Cooke said.
“We are fortunate … to have a very strong and capable finance team in place coupled with five months to identify a successor to ensure a seamless transition.”
Based in Melbourne, United Petroleum is a private company founded in the 1980s by South African entrepreneurs Eddie Hirsch and Avi Silver.
The two are directors of the group and rumoured to be hoping for a valuation of more than $1 billion in a float managed by investment banks Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.
According to market speculation on Wednesday, the initial public offering could take place as soon as November.
Mr Brinkworth, also a former Incitec Pivot executive, is due to start that month.
At Tatts, Mr O’Connell’s resignation coincides with another exit from the executive ranks, as Barrie Fletton — the chief operating officer of the group’s wagering arm — plans to leave in November.
Mr Fletton, who has spent 24 years at the company, will be replaced by Brendan Parnell, who most recently served as managing director of Tabcorp’s international division.
Tatts shares closed down 2c at $3.72.