Grant Thornton’s Swedish leader Anna Johnson has been named as the new Chief Executive of Svenska Spel, a state-owned gambling operator in Sweden. She will succeed Patrik Hofbauer no later than June 2024. Hofbauer’s departure from the company was announced in October, and he will officially leave on 31 January 2024, with the group chairman Erik Strand stepping in as the interim CEO until Johnson’s arrival.
Johnson is a partner at Grant Thornton and has been with the company since 1998. She is described as having successful leadership qualities based on inclusion and building strong teams that create customer value, resulting in profitable growth over the years. Strand expressed his confidence in Johnson’s abilities, noting that her drive and curiosity make her an excellent fit to lead Svenska Spel.
Johnson has also expressed her excitement at the opportunity, saying that Svenska Spel has one of Sweden’s strongest brands and a unique position to offer sustainable gaming experiences. She looks forward to leading the company’s journey of change and continuing to create results in collaboration with the employees.
Hofbauer, the outgoing CEO, is set to become the President and CEO of telecommunications company Telia Company in February, after spending five years at Svenska Spel.
This leadership transition comes as the Swedish gambling industry undergoes scrutiny following its re-regulation five years ago. The National Audit Office is conducting an audit of the gambling regulator Spelinspektionen to assess the effectiveness of its supervision. This audit follows research showing a ten-fold increase in visitor traffic to unlicensed gambling websites since 2019, raising concerns about channelisation rates for regulated online gambling.
Despite the challenges, Svenska Spel reported a 1% increase in revenue in the third quarter of the year, amounting to SEK1.97 billion. The company’s performance reflects the overall trends in the Swedish gambling market, which has experienced stagnation after showing growth in the first half of 2020.
In addition, data released by the Swedish gambling market shows both positive and negative trends in different sectors of the industry. Gross gaming revenue from Swedish license holders remained steady at SEK6.7 billion, while land-based casinos saw a significant increase in turnover. However, non-profit lotteries experienced a decrease in GGR. These figures underscore the challenges and opportunities facing the Swedish gambling market as it continues to evolve and adapt to changing regulations and consumer behavior.