Shares of online gaming and forex affiliate sites manager Catena Media plc (STO:CTM) declined by 5% in early trading Thursday, after the company announced that its CEO Per Hellberg (pictured above) had resigned.
No reason was given for Per Hellberg’s abrupt departure. He had been with Catena since mid 2018, after serving as CEO of Swedish online magazines site Readly for five years.
Catena has had a rough 2019. Catena Media shares traded down by 17% in late November after the company reported disappointing Q3 results.
The company announced that Chairman Göran Blomberg has been appointed interim CEO. Mr. Blomberg has been a member of the board of Catena Media since 2019 and chairman since 2020. He will step down as chairman of the Board during his time as interim CEO. Öystein Engebretsen will serve as acting chairman during Mr. Blomberg’s tenure as CEO.
Catena noted that a search process for a new permanent CEO will now be undertaken.
Mr. Engebretsen released a brief statement,
“We are pleased to appoint Göran Blomberg as the new interim CEO of Catena Media. Mr. Blomberg has solid experience and brings more than 30 years of managerial experience to the role in public listed environment. This makes him a good fit with Catena Media for the transition period. The board also want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Hellberg for his time with Catena Media.”
Göran Blomberg has been a member of Catena’s board of directors since May 2019 and served as chairman since May 2020. Mr. Blomberg has more than 30 years of managerial experience, primarily as CFO of publicly listed companies, most recently at ICA handlarnas Förbund (ICA Retailers’ Association). Mr. Blomberg has also served on the board of directors of a large number of public and private corporations.
Mr. Engebretsen has been a member of Caten’s board since October 2018. Mr. Engebretsen is Investment Manager at Investment AB Öresund and board member of INSR Insurance Group ASA and Scandi Standard AB.
Catena Media scaled rapidly through an acquisitions-driven strategy between 2016 and 2018, and during that time branched out from owning and operating (primarily) gaming related sites into Forex related websites. However earlier this year the company announced that it was making “no further investments into the Financial Services segment”.
The last two years the company has been going through a consolidation phase to integrate recently acquired assets. Concurrently with its asset consolidation, Catena Media said that it has successfully entered the US and Japanese markets and developed the highly profitable AskGamblers product within the European market.
Göran Blomberg said:
“Subsequently to strengthening the company’s financial position through a successfully executed rights issue of a hybrid bond in June we now will refocus on organic growth and potential strategic acquisitions. Additionally, we will improve operational efficiency through an enhanced focus on BI and AI to create an even more scalable business solution. McKinsey & Company has just been engaged to further accelerate this transformation process.”
Mr. Engebretsen added:
“To execute and lead Catena Media through this transformation process The Board has commenced the search for a new CEO with relevant professional experiences and a track record of success to facilitate Catena Media’s shift into an even more profitable growth phase.”