While the rest of the world continues to struggle against gender pay gap, one woman has managed to buck the trend, and how. Brit billionaire Denise Coates, the co-founder and joint chief executive of Bet365, paid herself an eye-popping salary of 220 million pounds in 2017. Her 50% stake in the private family-owned online gambling business further earned her a 45 million pounds dividend. And with a total compensation of 265 million pounds, up 22% over her 2016 pay packet, Coates is the world's highest-paid female executive.
To help put her salary into perspective, it is more than three times greater than what Tim Cook earned (80 million pounds) for running Apple, the most valuable company in the world, and 25 times more than what BP boss Bob Dudley took home, The Guardian reported. In fact, the total compensation for the highest paid CEO in the US in 2017, Broadcom's Hock Tan, had reportedly stood at $103 million, or less than a third of Coates pay packet.
Her salary is not the only big number thrown up in Bet365's latest financial statements for the period ended March 25, 2018, released last week. The company's sports and gaming turnover jumped 26% to 2,718 million pounds, while operating profits increased 33% to over 682 million pounds. The daily added that gamblers wagered 52.5 billion pounds with the company last year, a sum that outstrips the annual economic output of Croatia and Uruguay. Significantly, Bet365 could be the world's biggest online gambling business based on its claims of 35 million customers.
That's very impressive for a company that started out of a Portakabin in the British city of Stoke-on-Trent in 2002. According to the report, Coates's father, Peter, the 80-year-old son of a miner, became a successful local businessman and owned a string of betting shops. But it was Coates, an econometrics graduate, who zeroed in on the jackpot opportunity that lay online. After buying the Bet365.com domain name from eBay for $25,000, she borrowed against the bricks-and-mortar stores to develop sports-betting technology that soon left slow-moving rivals in the dust. The Coates family is now worth 5.8 billion pounds, surpassing Sir Richard Branson's empire.Also read: How much money did Britain take away from India? About $45 trillion in 173 years, says top economist
Bet365, fast becoming Stoke's most successful export, could be foraying into the US soon courtesy a 39 million pounds deal with a New York casino operator. In May, the US Supreme Court had repealed a decades-old ban on sports betting, throwing up business opportunities for companies like Bet365.
However, Coates salary has incurred severe criticism from several quarters ranging from activists campaigning against gambling addiction as well as local politicians. According to the daily, Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, called the pay packet "irresponsible and excessive", while the High Pay Centre said it was "obscene". Charles and Liz Ritchie, who founded the Gambling With Lives charity after their son, Jack, killed himself after a gambling addiction, said they found Coates's payout "particularly upsetting" in the circumstances.
Edited by Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal