Damian Cope Leaves OPAP Forcing Search For Replacement CEO

OPAP SA, listed in Athens, has announced that Damian Cope has decided to end his tenure as Group Chief Executive and will leave the organisation in May. OPAP said it has begun a succession planning process to find Cope’s leadership replacement.

Cope will retain his role as a member of the OPAP board, and from 1 June he will also act as a corporate advisor to OPAP majority shareholder SAZKA Group, where he will advise on further opportunities for international development.

The announcement will see OPAP temporarily restructure its executive leadership team, headed by long-term executive Jan Karas as interim CEO. Karas has recently been elevated to Group CCO following last month’s OPAP C-level restructuring.

OPAP Chairman Kamil Ziegler, releasing a statement, lauded the period of Cope under which the executive led the “modernisation programme” of OPAP, revitalising the retail portfolio of the company and updating its operating systems.

Ziegler remarked: “I greatly appreciate Damian’s work and contribution to the development of our company activities, as well as his effective collaboration with the Board of Directors throughout his term.

“Damian’s early disclosure of his intentions to relocate to stay with his family allowed the Board to prepare a succession plan in advance of his departure.”

Cope released his last trading update as Group CEO this morning, in which OPAP reported that COVID-19 impacts had wiped out 99 percent of corporate sales, prompting OPAP to temporarily shut its Greek and Cypriot outlets.

According to current forecasts, it expects an EBITDA blow of € 50-53 million to be absorbed should the lockdown in Greece continue beyond April.