Fri, Mar 3, 8:47am by Staff Writer
Aristocrat Leisure, the largest gambling machine manufacturer in Australia, recently installed Aristocrat Australia senior executive Trevor Croker as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.
Croker, an alumnus of the Australian Graduate School of Management, had been tabbed as successor to longtime company head Jamie O’Dell in November of last year. O’Dell officially handed the reins to Aristocrat Leisure over to Croker on February 27, during the company’s 2017 Annual General Meeting.
O’Dell ran Aristocrat Leisure since December of 2008, when the former managing director of Foster’s Group began a historic revival of Australia’s original pokie provider.
Under O’Dell’s tenure, the company – which was founded in 1953 and has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange since 1996 – grew its market capitalisation from AUD$1.7 billion to a peak of AUD$10.6 billion.
Croker was the first executive hired as part of O’Dell’s ‘turnaround team’, leaving Foster’s Group along with his boss to become managing director of Aristocrat’s operations in Australia and New Zealand in early 2009. From there, Croker was promoted to the position of interim chief digital officer in September of 2015, before rising to Executive Vice President of Global Products & Insights six months later.
During the recent meeting, O’Dell delivered a spoken statement intended for shareholders which outlined Croker’s qualifications in glowing terms:
“Trevor is an outstanding leader who has already made a significant impact as part of the team that has delivered Aristocrat’s turnaround and strong performance over the last seven years,” O’Dell said.
“Trevor is the ideal person to build on our momentum and take this business forward over new growth horizons.”
“I am delighted to be handing the reins to such a capable and committed leader.”
Croker followed with his own statement, in which he pledged to continue the successful philosophies and policies instituted by his predecessor:
“It is an extraordinary privilege to be asked to lead this great business. ”
“As you know, I’ve been privileged to be part of the leadership team at Aristocrat for many years, so it will be no surprise that I will be focused on continuity and building on our foundations rather than introducing change for change’s sake.”
“You can be assured that I will be working very hard every day, along with the leadership team and all my colleagues at Aristocrat, to make sure we continue to deliver high quality growth and performance, building on the outstanding momentum achieved under Jamie’s leadership.”
Croker will relocate to Las Vegas to assume control of Aristocrat Leisure’s global operations, as the North American sector represents 65 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Aristocrat Leisure’s recent renaissance has been driven by several factors.
In 2014 the company completed a major AUD$1.4 billion acquisition of American firm Video Gaming Technologies (VGT). As the leading provider of Class II bingo-style pokies – a lucrative business in the U.S. where tribal gaming compacts restrict reservation casinos to Class II gambling – VGT provided Aristocrat Leisure with inroads to that segment of the American market.
Croker also oversaw the launch of the Lightning Link progressive pokie concept, which enabled Aristocrat Australia to regain control of local market share, while becoming the most popular pokie in North America.
Speaking with the Australian Financial Review, Croker spoke about the inspiration for Lightning Link:
“It came from the team that made it spending time in Queensland and understand what was needed in that market to be successful.”
“Humility is so critical to who we are. It is part of our culture, and we listen – which is a very important part of humility – and we act.”
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