Toronto TSX listed online gambling operator Amaya Inc has confirmed that CEO & Chairman David Baazov is “taking an indefinite paid leave of absence from the company, effective yesterday”.
Issuing a corporate statement Amaya governance detailed that Baazov had opted to take voluntary leave from leadership with a view to prepare for his management takeover of Amaya assets.
Furthermore, Baazov declared that he wanted to avoid “a distraction for the company while he responds to certain allegations made against him by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the securities regulatory authority in Quebec”.
The Amaya board of directors has appointed Divyesh Gadhia as Interim Chairman, with Rafi Ashkenazi taking on Interim CEO responsibilities.
Gadhia has been an Amaya director since 2010, is the Board’s Lead Independent Director and is Chair of the Special Committee of independent directors established on February 1, 2016 to consider any proposal that may be made by Mr. Baazov, as well as other alternatives that may become available to Amaya.
Ashkenazi is currently CEO of the Rational Group, Amaya’s operating business, which includes the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands.
Prior to becoming CEO of Rational Group in late-2015, Ashkenazi served as Senior Vice President of Strategy for Amaya during 2015 and as Chief Operating Officer of Rational Group from January 2013 until early 2015