ESSA Appoints Jonathan Russell to Board
etway's Jonathan Russell to join ESSA Board.
International betting integrity body ESSA has elected a new Chairperson and expanded its board. GVC’s Heike Mayer succeeds outgoing ESSA Chair, Mike O’Kane, who has held the position since 2012. The ESSA board has also expanded to reflect its growing membership, with Betway’s Jon Russell and David Foster of Paddy Power Betfair strengthening the board of directors.

Heike Mayer, who is responsible for Public and Regulatory Affairs at GVC, is well-versed in the issues facing the sector and moves from her position as Vice Chair of ESSA. She takes over as Chair of the association from Mike O’Kane, a veteran of over 40 years in the industry, who has stepped down following his retirement from Ladbrokes.

“I’d like to thank Mike for all of his hard work over the last five years. He has done a great job in repositioning the association and has been an influential and vocal advocate of ESSA members and our sector in general. There are a number of key issues and opportunities facing the industry going forward. I will be working with my board colleagues to deliver and implement a strategy that meets those challenges and maintains the strong working relationships that ESSA has built,” Mayer said.

ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali explained that: “The expansion of the board reflects a desire to ensure that we are best placed to represent the association’s increasing membership and to meet the ongoing challenges facing the sports betting sector. We are very fortunate to have a wealth of experience and knowledge within our membership to help drive us forward to achieve our goals.”

ESSA holds positions on match-fixing policy forums at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the IOC. It is driving a number of activities aimed at addressing match-fixing, including a player education programme with EU Athletes (see here) and an international project, entitled “Keep Crime out of Sport”, led by the Council of Europe (see here); both receive funding from the European Commission. ESSA has recently released its Q1 2017 report, available here.