Henrik Tjärnström steps down as Kindred CEO as strategic alternatives sought

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Henrik Tjärnström has announced his immediate resignation as CEO of Kindred Group after 13 years in the role and over 20 years affiliated with the group. 

First becoming CEO of the Stockholm NASDAQ group, operator of the Unibet brand, in 2010 Tjärnström stepped up from CFO and Deputy CEO, a joint role he held from 2008. 

After a transformative 13 years in charge of the group, which saw its rebrand from Unibet Group to Kindred as well as grow geographically across Europe and into the US, Tjärnström has decided to step down. 

Replacing Tjärnström is Nils Andén, who will be Interim CEO until a permanent replacement has been identified. 

Tjärnström outlined: “I am very pleased with the Board of Directors’ choice of Nils Andén as the interim CEO, guaranteeing a smooth handover.”

Anden has enjoyed two separate stints at Kindred and rejoined as Chief Commercial Officer in 2020.

“I look very much forward to working closely with our Board of Directors, the executive management team, and all employees to achieve the goals of Kindred”, added Andén. 

“I re-joined Kindred in 2020 as its Chief Commercial Officer, after having had positions within Kindred between 2006 and 2016 as Head of Poker, Head of Established Markets, and Chief Marketing Officer for the Unibet brand. 

“I have a strong belief in our organization and the business models that have made this Company so successful and am more confident than ever in Kindred’s potential.”

The change at the top of the group comes after Kindred announced it was seeking “strategic alternatives” for its long-term future, which could include a partial or full sale of its business. 

Having achieved a strong Q1 recovery after a disastrous 2022, Kindred is seeking to provide maximum return for its shareholders and, with consolidation in the US becoming a trend this year, Kindred could look to sell its US unit. 

In North America, Kindred is aiming to become a top 10 operator in the live states it is in. From its Unibet brand, gross winnings revenue stood at $9.98m, up 8% YoY and 87% from Q4 of 2022, when it made a record payout to Mattress Mack.

This also represents a return to form against 2021 comparatives, when the group recorded $9.2m in gross winnings revenue.

In its bid to become profitable by 2025 in North America, the group reduced its marketing spend by $7.9m from Q4 2022, which caused a drop in depositing players and total activity. This did help EBITDA losses in North America narrow to $6.9m.

As Interim CEO, Andén will be charged with overseeing the process of seeking strategic alternatives while simultaneously leading the group through further growth in key markets such as the US, where it sees strong opportunities. 

Evert Carlsson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kindred, noted: “Henrik has been at the helm through many important milestones passed by Kindred and has undoubtedly put his mark in both the history of the Company and the industry. 

“Thus, on behalf of the Board of Directors and all shareholders, I would like to thank Henrik for his valuable contributions to the success of Kindred throughout the years he has led the Company and wish him well in his future endeavors.”