Financial services bigshot Yabuki installed as Sportradar chair
Sportradar, the international sports data intelligence and digital content services provider, has today named Jeffery Yabuki, a senior executive from the world of financial services, as chairman of its global board of directors.
The 60-year-old Yabuki will provide overall leadership following the company’s gravitation to a more regional strategy, with the appointment of leaders for key territories around the world.
He succeeds Tony Aquila, who left Sportradar last August after less than 18 months as chairman.
Yabuki’s most recent high-profile role was as executive chairman of Fiserv, the financial services technology provider.
He had been chief executive of the company from 2005 to 2020, overseeing a trebling of revenue, from $3.2 billion to $10 billion, and a total shareholder return of 969 per cent.
The choice of Yabuki is potentially all the more significant given reports that Sportradar, which specialises in the sports betting and entertainment products and services industries, is widely reported to have been exploring going public, possibly via a special purpose acquisition company.
The new chairman previously had a six-year spell as chief operating officer at tax preparation services firm H&R Block, and held various leadership roles at credit card giant American Express for more than a decade.
He remains a member of the board of directors at Royal Bank of Canada and Ixonia Bancshares.
The rest of the Sportradar group board comprises global chief executive and founder Carsten Koerl, Hafiz Lalani of Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, John Doran of growth equity firm TCV, Chuck Robel, Marc Walder, Hervé Couturier and George Fleet.
Both CPPIB and TCV are investors in the company in deals back in 2018 that valued the company at $2.4 billion.
Koerl said on Thursday: “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to the Sportradar team. His extraordinary leadership, strategic approach, and business acumen propelled Fiserv to become a global leader in financial services and payments technology. We look forward to having Jeff as Chairman of our Global Board of Directors as we continue to deliver unmatched experiences to our customers and partners and pursue transformative growth.”
Yabuki added: “As the leading global provider of sports data intelligence, Sportradar has achieved remarkable growth and is well positioned for the future in this evolving market. I am honored to join the Global Board to partner with Carsten and the incredibly talented Sportradar leadership team to create differentiated value at the intersection of sports entertainment and technology leadership.”
Under the new structure unveiled last month, Arne Rees (North America), Werner Becher (UK, EMEA and Latin America) and Eduard Blonk (Asia and Pacific) are now serving as regional chief executives, reporting to Koerl.
However, Blonk will only serve as APAC chief executive on an interim basis, supported by deputy Michael Maerz. He has also now been appointed chief commercial officer.
In addition to these regional chief executives, the following five senior personnel report to Koerl: Warren Murphy as chief product officer for betting and gaming; Rainer Geier as chief product officer for sports entertainment; Ben Burdsall as chief technology officer; Alex Gersh as chief financial officer; and Ulrich Harmuth as chief strategy officer.
Sportradar said that the reorganisation would help to develop its global business, as well as to extend its betting content portfolio, and continue the development of its integrity services.
The firm has headquarters in Switzerland and USA and more than 1,000 clients in more than 80 countries around the world, notably leading sports rights-holders, media companies and betting operators.
In the US, where Sportradar has been looking to capitalise on a liberated sports betting market, rights-holder partners include the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and Nascar.