GambleAware, Great Britain's charitable funding body for gambling related research, education and treatment, has announced that Mark Etches is to step down from his role as its chief executive at the end of March 2021.
Etches has served as CEO of GambleAware since July 2011, overseeing what the charity described as a “substantial increase” in funding and donations.
This included the recent pledge by leading members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) committing further funding of £100m for the next four years.
However, in recent months its role has been critcised by a number of bodies, over a percieved lack of independence in allocating funding for research, education and treatment. In July this prompted Etches to speak out to clarify that charities that it supports financially are free to raise funding from other sources.
Similarly, a claim that the gambling industry had an say in where its funding was allocated was dismissed by chair Kate Lampard and deputy chair Professor Siân Griffiths.
“It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as CEO for nearly a decade and I am enormously proud of the charity’s development and the contribution it makes, in partnerships with others, to keeping people safe from gambling harms,” Etches said.
“With the prospect of a new era of increased funding and wider commissioning responsibilities, it is the right time for the charity to find someone with the skills and expertise necessary to take it into the next stage of its evolution.”
GambleAware’s board of trustees will lead the process to select a new CEO, with the charity seeking to appoint someone with expertise in commissioning healthcare services.
The charity said its new CEO should also be able to continue to ensure gambling harms are understood and tackled as a matter of public and individual health and wellbeing.
GambleAware chair Kate Lampard said: “It has been a pleasure working with Marc over the past four years and he has taken the charity from strength to strength.
“As a result of his hard work, GambleAware has developed the expertise and sustainability to continue to deliver and work with partners across the healthcare spectrum to prevent and protect against gambling harms.”
The announcement comes after last month GambleAware revealed it received £820,000 (€907,554/$1.1m) in donations during the first quarter of its fiscal year, ending 1 June.
Gamesys contributed more than half of the total figure for the period, donating £450,000, followed Apricot Investments, the parent company of Microgaming, with a £40,000 donation.