Anna Johnson, the leader of Grant Thorton in Sweden, has been appointed as the new CEO of Svenska Spel, the state-owned gambling operator in Sweden. Johnson will take over as CEO no later than June 2024, following the departure of current CEO Patrik Hofbauer, who is set to leave the company on January 31, 2024. In the interim, group chairman Erik Strand will take on the role of interim CEO until Johnson assumes her position.
Having been with Grant Thorton since 1998, Johnson is an authorized accountant and currently serves as a partner and CEO in Sweden for the global accounting services group. Her leadership style, focused on inclusion and building strong teams, was highlighted by Strand as he expressed confidence in Johnson’s ability to drive Svenska Spel forward. Johnson expressed enthusiasm for her new role, emphasizing the strength of Svenska Spel’s brand and its potential to provide sustainable gaming experiences for the Swedish people.
Hofbauer, the outgoing CEO, is set to join telecommunications company Telia Company as President and CEO in February after five years at the helm of Svenska Spel. In the latest trading update, Svenska Spel reported a modest 1% year-on-year increase in revenue for Q3, reflecting the stagnation experienced in the Swedish gambling market as a whole.
The arrival of Johnson as CEO comes at a time when Sweden’s gambling industry is facing scrutiny, with the National Audit Office initiating an audit of regulator Spelinspektionen to assess the effectiveness of its supervision. This audit follows research showing a significant increase in visitor traffic to unlicensed gambling websites since 2019. Despite this, gross gaming revenue from Swedish license-holders remained steady at SEK6.7bn compared to the previous quarter.
In Q3, there was a noticeable increase in turnover from land-based casinos, while gross gaming revenue from non-profit lotteries saw a decrease. Overall, the industry faces challenges and changes, and Johnson’s appointment represents a new chapter for Svenska Spel as it navigates the evolving landscape of the Swedish gambling market.