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Light & Wonder CFO Connie James Exits – C-Suite Transitions

  • July 6, 2023

Situations where multiple strategies we follow start to overlap are not all that common but you run across them from time to time if you are paying close attention. One such situation was the acquisition of Biohaven (BHVN) by Pfizer (PFE) last year and the subsequent spinoff of the non-migraine pipeline of Biohaven into a separate company.

When reviewing the list of management transitions earlier this week, Light & Wonder (LNW) popped up as another one of those situations. The company:

  • saw insider buying by a director in May
  • is buying back its own stock
  • recently made an offer to acquire another company in which it already holds a majority stake and
  • is appointing a new CFO.

Welcome to edition 48 of C-Suite Transitions, a weekly series on InsideArbitrage that tracks appointments and departures at publicly traded companies during the prior week. We highlight five appointments and departures each week by picking the largest companies from the full list of management changes.

Sudden Departures

  1. WLMS: On June 26, 2023, Williams Industrial Services Group Chief Financial Officer Damien A. Vassall notified the company of his intent to resign, effective June 30, 2023.
  2. DIBS: On June 26, 2023, 1stdibs.com Chief Technology Officer Ross Paul would be terminated as part of the workforce reduction, effective June 30, 2023.
  3. FIBK: On June 28, 2023, First Interstate BancSystem Chief Information Officer Scott E. Erkonen notified the company that he was departing for personal reasons effective immediately, and under circumstances enabling him to receive severance under his employment agreement with the registrant as if it were a resignation for “Good Reason”.
  4. HBCP: On June 29, 2023, Home Bancorp  Chief Operations Officer Jason P. Freyou resigned effective July 14, 2023, in order to pursue another professional opportunity.
  5. LIFW: On June 28, 2023, MSP Recovery Chief Financial Officer Calvin Hamstra tendered his resignation effective immediately.
  6. AXLA: On June 23, 2023, Axcella Health Chief Medical Officer Margaret Koziel, M.D. notified the company of her resignation effective immediately.
  7. FLWS: On June 29, 2023, 1-800 Flowers.com Chief Executive Officer Christopher McCann resigned effective July 3, 2023.
  8. TCRX: On June 27, 2023, Tscan Therapeutics Chief Financial Officer Brian Silver notified his intention to step down from his role effective July 21, 2023.
  9. DMTK: On June 26, 2023, DermTech Chief Commercial Officer Todd Wood announced last day of employment will be July 3, 2023.
  10. SFT: On June 28, 2023, Shift Technologies announced that Sean Foy is no longer the Chief Operating Officer of the company, effective June 23, 2023.
  11. FLGC: On June 25, 2023, Chief Executive Officer Hussein Rakine, Chief Financial Officer Elshad Garayev, Chief Marketing Officer Jessie Casner, and Chief Commercial Officer Jason Warnock resigned effective on June 30, 2023.

Light & Wonder (LNW): $64.68

Light & Wonder, Inc. (LNW), formerly known as Scientific Games Corporation, is an American corporation specializing in gambling products and services headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. The previous incarnation of the company used to focus on providing gambling equipment to licensed operators like the casinos in Las Vegas.

On July 03, 2023, Light & Wonder (LNW) announced that effective August 25, 2023, Connie James, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, will be stepping down from her role to pursue another opportunity outside the gaming industry.

Connie James

Connie James

Ms. Connie joined the company in January 2020 and was the Chief Financial Officer of the gaming division, where she guided the division through the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruptions and assisted with the company’s transformation and recent rebranding measures.

In 2021 and 2022, she supervised the financial transformation resulting from the sales of the Scientific Games lottery division and OpenBet, actions that “transformed” the company’s balance sheet by reducing debt levels and opening the door for the rebranding to Light & Wonder.


Oliver Chow

Oliver ChowFollowing Ms. James’ departure, Oliver Chow, the company’s current Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance, will assume the role of Interim CFO until a permanent successor is appointed.

Before joining Light & Wonder in October 2022, Mr. Chow worked at Aristocrat, most recently as the company’s Chief Financial Officer for the Americas, EMEA, and Customer Experience. Previously, he served in various financial roles with Universal Pictures, Deluxe Entertainment Services, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Potential Deal for SciPlay 

Scientific Games spun off its social gaming business SciPlay (SCPL) as a publicly traded company in 2019.

In July 2021, Scientific Games proposed to acquire the 19% equity interest in SciPlay it does not own for 0.250 shares of Scientific Games for each share of SciPlay. The Special Committee rejected Scientific Games’ initial proposal. In December 2021, Scientific Games announced that it had withdrawn its previously announced all-stock offer.

We are tracking the potential acquisition of SciPlay Corporation (SCPL) by Light & Wonder (LNW) in the Deal in the Works (DITW) section of InsideArbitrage.

In May 2023, Light & Wonder (LNW submitted a proposal to the Board of Directors of SciPlay Corporation (SCPL) under which Light & Wonder would acquire the remaining 17% equity interest in SciPlay that it does not currently own for $20.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $422 million. The proposed consideration would imply an enterprise value of $2.1 billion for SciPlay. The stock is up 9.73% since we added the announcement to our DITW tool.

With SciPlay currently trading at $19.66, there is a tiny 1.73% spread on the deal. Considering L&W owns approximately 83% of the economic interest and 98% of the voting interest in SciPlay, this is the perfect situation for a minority shareholder to get involved and demand a higher price for SciPlay, as we have seen in the past with situations like Harold Hamm’s acquisition of fracking company Continental Resources.

Deleveraging Balance Sheet

On September 27, 2021, Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) announced that it sold its sports betting business, OpenBet, to Endeavor Group Holdings (EDR), a global sports and entertainment company, in a cash and stock transaction valued at $1.2 billion. Also, in October 2021, Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) announced the sale of the lottery business to Brookfield Business Partners for $6.05 billion.

Previous President and Chief Executive Officer Barry Cottle of Scientific Games said: “The significant near-term proceeds from this transaction, as well as our previously announced sale of Sports Betting, will transform our balance sheet and provide the financial flexibility to invest organically and inorganically to accelerate our strategies.”

In April 2022, the company announced that it utilized proceeds from the divestiture of the Lottery Business and a new $2.2 billion term loan facility to retire its $4.0 billion term loan and redeem $3.0 billion of secured and unsecured notes. Additionally, the company secured a new $750 million revolving credit facility along with the new term loan and also reduced the principal amount of debt outstanding by $4.8 billion at that time.

Rebranding Scientific Games

On March 1, 2022, Scientific Games Corporation announced its intention to rename itself as Light & Wonder as the company shifted focus to online gambling content. With the transformation of the Scientific Games Lottery group into a stand-alone company, the Gaming and iGaming groups have been rebranded as Light & Wonder. This newly rebranded company positions itself as a cross-platform provider, offering a diverse portfolio of renowned games and franchises in the real money and free-to-play social gaming sectors.

First Quarter 2023 Results (Investor Presentation)

For the first quarter of 2023, the company reported total revenue of $670M, a 17% increase year over year. Primarily due to higher revenue and operating income as well as lower interest expense, net income was $27 million compared to a net loss of $67 million in the same period last year.

Gaming revenue increased 18% to $419 million compared to $372 million in the same period last year. SciPlay reported revenue of $186 million, an 18% increase compared to the prior year period. iGaming reported revenue of $65 million, a 10% increase from the prior year period.

Capital Return

Through May 4, 2023, the company has repurchased approximately 7.6 million shares of L&W common stock, returning $437 million to shareholders. This buyback represents 58% of the total program authorization.


Light & Wonder announced the transition of its CFO and reiterated its previously stated goal of $1.4 billion in consolidated adjusted EBITDA by 2025.

The company currently trades at a forward EV/EBITDA and 9.31 and still has nearly $3 billion in net debt on its balance sheet.

The company said it “continues to show strong financial performance on all key metrics in 2023 and looks forward to sharing its Q2 results in August.”

Light & Wonder is making remarkable progress by strategically realigning its operations, divesting certain assets, and implementing effective streamlining measures. These actions have led to a significant improvement in the company’s balance sheet, positioning it for a promising future.

Investor Presentation

Investor Presentation
Investor Presentation


1. Abbvie  (ABBV): $137.6

On and effective June 29, 2023, Abbvie announced that Robert A. Michael was appointed as President and Chief Operating Officer.

MarketCap: $242.80BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 6,054,219Revenue (TTM): $56.74B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 13.37%ROE (TTM): 51.27%Net Debt: $55.74B
P/E: 32.37Forward P/E: 12.11EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 10.11
P/S (TTM): 4.17P/B (TTM): 17.7152 Week Range: $130.29 – $166.20

2. Gitlab  (GTLB): $50.68

On June 29, 2023, the Board of Directors of GitLab appointed Erin Mannix as Chief Accounting Officer, effective June 29, 2023.

MarketCap: $7.75BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 4,055,572Revenue (TTM): $463.81M
Net Income Margin (TTM): -42.84%ROE (TTM): -25.34%Net Cash: $986.31M
P/E: -38.18Forward P/E: N/AEV/EBIDTA (TTM): -31.88
P/S (TTM): 15.97P/B (TTM): 9.8852 Week Range: $26.24 – $70.96

3. Mercury Systems (MRCY): $34.91

On June 29, 2023, Mercury Systems announced that David E. Farnsworth will be joining the company as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, on July 17, 2023.

MarketCap: $2.03BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 1,026,360Revenue (TTM): $1.01B
Net Income Margin (TTM): -0.32%ROE (TTM): -0.21%Net Debt: $518.4M
P/E: N/AForward P/E: 14.71EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 19.12
P/S (TTM): 1.91P/B (TTM): 1.2752 Week Range: $28.90 – $64.43

4. American Express (AXP): $175.57

On June 27, 2023, American Express announced the appointment of Christophe Le Caillec as Chief Financial Officer, effective August 14, 2023. Mr. Le Caillec has been Deputy CFO since December 2021.

MarketCap: $130.49BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 2,824,146Revenue (TTM): $52.14B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 13.87%ROE (TTM):  29.90%Net Debt: $2.65B
P/E:  18.45Forward P/E: 15.65EV/EBIDTA (TTM): N/A
P/S (TTM): 2.34P/B (TTM): 4.9252 Week Range: $129.72 – $181.48

5. McCormick & Co (MKC): $87.07

On June 27, 2023, the Board of Directors of McCormick & Company appointed Brendan M. Foley as President and Chief Executive Officer of McCormick, effective September 1, 2023.

Mr. Foley has served as President and Chief Operating Officer since June 1, 2022.

MarketCap: $23.36BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 1,829,141Revenue (TTM): $6.52B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 10.74%ROE (TTM): 14.62%Net Debt: $4.76B
P/E: 33.61Forward P/E: 32.89EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 24.06
P/S (TTM): 3.67P/B (TTM): 4.7852 Week Range: $70.17 – $94.39


1.  SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS): $56.22

On June 28, 2023, Michelle Adams, Chief Transformation Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, notified the company of her intention to retire from her current position at SeaWorld to pursue personal opportunities effective August 4, 2023.

MarketCap: $3.59BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 709,032Revenue (TTM): $1.75B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 16.18%ROE (TTM): -93.47%Net Debt: $2.17B
P/E: 13.36Forward P/E: 10.32EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 8.51
P/S (TTM): 2.15P/B (TTM): 181.6652 Week Range: $40.01 – $68.19

2. Under Armour (UAA): $7.25

On June 28, 2023, Under Armour announced that Colin Browne, Chief Operating Officer, will be leaving the company in September to pursue other opportunities.

MarketCap: $3.10BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 6,074,734Revenue (TTM): $5.90B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 6.55%ROE (TTM): 20.75%Net Debt: $808M
P/E: 8.63Forward P/E: 12.99EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 9.23
P/S (TTM): 0.56P/B (TTM): 1.5952 Week Range: $6.38 – $13.05

3. American Express (AXP): $175.57

On June 27, 2023, American Express announced that Jeffrey C. Campbell will be retiring as Chief Financial Officer effective August 14, 2023, and as Vice Chairman until his retirement from the company in March 2024.

MarketCap: $130.49BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 2,824,146Revenue (TTM): $52.14B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 13.87%ROE (TTM):  29.90%Net Debt: $2.65B
P/E:  18.45Forward P/E: 15.65EV/EBIDTA (TTM): N/A
P/S (TTM): 2.34P/B (TTM): 4.9252 Week Range: $129.72 – $181.48

4. First Interstate BancSystem (FIBK): $23.75

On June 28, 2023, First Interstate BancSystem was notified by Scott E. Erkonen, Chief Information Officer, that he was departing from the company for personal reasons effective immediately, and under the circumstances enabling him to receive severance under his employment agreement with the registrant as if it were a resignation for “Good Reason.”

MarketCap: $2.48BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 872,665Revenue (TTM): $1.10B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 25.77%ROE (TTM): 8.84Net Debt: $2.97B
P/E: 8.63Forward P/E: 8.06EV/EBIDTA (TTM): N/A
P/S (TTM): 2.28P/B (TTM): 0.8152 Week Range: $21.03 – $43.89

5. Light & Wonder  (LNW): $64.68

On June 27, 2023, Constance P. James notified Light & Wonder that she will resign as Chief Financial Officer effective August 25, 2023, to pursue another opportunity.

MarketCap: $5.89BAvg. Daily Volume (30 days): 878,268Revenue (TTM): $2.61B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 140.65%ROE (TTM): 17.21%Net Debt: $2.95B
P/E: -56.52Forward P/E: 51.81EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 11.18
P/S (TTM): 2.46P/B (TTM): 6.1752 Week Range: $$40.10 – $69.53

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