Ainsworth Unveil Harald Neumann as New CEO

Ainsworth Game Technology appoints Harald Neumann as the new Chief Executive Officer after Lawrence Levy resigned from the role.

Australian pokies manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology is under new stewardship with Harald Neumann taking over from the departing Lawrence Levy. Former Novomatic CEO Neumann begins his new role on October 1.

Ainsworth wasted no time in appointing Neumann following Levy’s surprise resignation for personal reasons.

“Ainsworth Game Technology Limited today announced that Mr Lawrence Levy has advised the company of his intention to resign from the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective Friday 10th September 2021.

“The company further advised that it has agreed with Mr Harald Neumann that he will be appointed as the new CEO commencing 1st October 2021.

“Mr Neumann’s appointment in the role is subject to regulatory approvals and the completion of contractual details. Mr Neumann’s remuneration terms will to be similar to Mr Levy’s and will be released to ASX on completion.”

Appointment of Neumann Comes From Within

The appointment of Neumann comes from within because he has been a director since February 2017. He remains a director but becomes an executive director from 1st October 2021.

Mark Ludski, the Chief Financial Officer of Ainsworth, temporarily takes over as CEO in an interim capacity. This is to ensure continued leadership of the company.

Chairman Danny Gladstone thanked Levy and welcomed Neumann.

“On behalf of the board, we thank Lawrence for his contribution through challenging times. Lawrence has decided to resign for personal reasons, and we wish him well.

“We are fortunate to be able to appoint Harald as our new CEO. As the former successful CEO of Novomatic, AG, our major shareholder, and a director of AGT, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role with a thorough understanding of AGT. He will be able to seamlessly transition to the new position. Harald will be based in Las Vegas where he can lead AGT in our largest market continuing to drive growth and recovery.”

Challenging Times Ahead

Gladstone spoke of challenging times when thanking Levy for his contribution and he was not lying. The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ainsworth hard, like many other gambling-related businesses. Neumann has plenty of work ahead of him.

Ainsworth issued a profit warning in late November 2020. It warned shareholders to expect $15 million losses in the first half of the 2021 fiscal year. Furthermore, the warning came after the company posted a $43 million loss for the 2020 financial year.

Estimates of a $15 million loss for H1 2021 were off the mark because Ainsworth lost another $18.7 million during that period. Overall, Ainsworth lost $59.17 million before tax in 2021. The result includes $42.1 million relating to currency impacts and other one-off non-recurring items. Some $41.7 million of that sum stems from “non-cash impairment charges” as Ainsworth wrote off some goodwill.

Has The Recovery Started?

Ainsworth is confident the recovery has started according to statements released to the ASX. It estimates a 22.2% increase in revenue to $88 million for the second half of the 2021 financial year. The company expects recording a pre-tax profit of $1.6 million for the same period.

Revenue from Ainsworth’s Australian business should be $20 million. This is a remarkable increase of 39.2% compared to the entire 2020 results that saw revenues of $39 million.

The company’s overseas markets are where Ainsworth makes most of its money, North America in particular. Ainsworth joined forces with Caesars Entertainment in August 2021 that sees the Australian company create and supply online pokies for a trio of Caesars’ New Jersey online casinos.

“We’re honoured to be partnering with a prestigious operator like Caesars,” said Ainsworth General Manager – Online Jason Lim. “This launch furthers our presence in the New Jersey market, and we’re thrilled to be live with our latest games on the Caesars sites. We are confident the tremendous math models and fun play mechanics will be successful and provide an entertaining experience for Caesars players.”