Bookmaker Betfred has announced that Joanne Whittaker will become the company’s new CEO. 

Whittaker, who was appointed by Chairman Fred Done, is set to join the operator’s board of directors in April 2021. 

The incoming CEO has had a previous stint at Betfred, originally leaving the bookmaker in 2005 to set up her own company. 

Building on previous business relationships 

In her earlier spell with the company, Whittaker was Betfred’s Head of IT. After leaving, she set up the childcare voucher provider Fideliti. The company’s growth was aided by investment from Done, in return for a 25% share. 

Fideliti generated a turnover in excess of £80 million in 2019. The company also announced that it made £1.7 million in pre-tax profits. 

Done has also assisted Whittaker with funding two of her other businesses: Angel Advance, a debt advice service, and Workplace Finance – a loans company. 

Whittaker has also helped the Betfred Chairman with various business of his own. She has examined numerous companies he is involved with, and also been a Betfred non-executive director. 

The soon-to-be Betfred CEO has already expressed her admiration for her business partner. In 2021, she told the Manchester Evening News that she wants “to be the female Fred Done”. 

At the time, she also said: “I think he likes backing a successful project like mine because I’m young and we still get on really well. He’s an amazing influence.”

Continuing his work in betting 

Done will remain Chairman of Betfred and said earlier this week that he is “going absolutely nowhere”. 

The Betfred Chairman turned 78 last week and has been in charge of the company since 2016, when he replaced John Haddock. 

Done has been in the betting industry for over five decades, setting up his first bookies in Salford in 1967. 

Women in gaming executive roles 

Whittaker’s appointment is the latest of the high-profile female executive appointments within the gaming industry this year. Recently, Jette Nygaard-Andersen became the CEO of Entain – formerly known as GVC Holdings. 

In January, Zoë Osmond was appointed as CEO of the gambling charity GambleAware. She replaces Marc Etches, who will end his tenure in this position at the end of March 2021. 

This month, the payment provider Xace announced that Annie Osborne will become the company’s Chief Commercial Officer. Osborne has extensive experience in the gambling industry, as well as payments.