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LONDON – Former Marks and Spencer director Carl Leaver has been appointed CEO of Gala Coral, one of the leading gambling groups in Britain which runs Gala Bingo, Coral bookmakers and Gala Casinos.

Interim CEO Neil Goulden recently announced he would be stepping down from the board after over ten years at the company. Gala Coral moved quickly to hire Carl Leaver as new Chief Executive, while they also hired Debenhams boss Rob Templeman in the role of non-executive chairman. Goulden will remain active in the running of Gala Coral until January 2011 to ensure a smooth handover period to the new bosses.

Commenting on his departure and the new chiefs, Neil Goulden said, “I would like to warmly welcome Carl and Rob to the Gala Coral Group. They both have huge reputations built upon a successful track record in the retail and leisure sectors. I have no doubt that they will have a significant positive impact on the Group.

I feel the time is now right to step down from the group. Having successfully led the group through its recent financial restructuring, and helped to recruit a top-notch chairman and CEO to work alongside our CFO, Gary Hughes, I know that I am leaving the company in good shape and in very capable hands.”

Goulden will continue to do work for Gala Coral in a consultant capacity for three years after he leaves in January. The company also rewarded his incredible contribution to the development of Gala Coral from “number two bingo operator in the UK to the leading gambling company in Britain” by inviting him to become chairman Emeritus of the group.

Gala Coral has over 3.5 million active customers in the UK and has around ten per cent of the UK gambling market from online bingo to land-based casinos. The Gala Coral Group is the only gambling company in the UK with significant businesses in the bookmaking, bingo and casino markets, both on the high street and online.

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