Leading betting firm The Tote is losing its public relations chief of four years, Rob Hartnett, to a start-up Irish betting company.
The Tote - which has an annual turnover of pounds 500m - is searching for a replacement to lead its three-strong in-house team following Hartnett's decision to leave at the end of the month.
Hartnett will take on the role of communications director for an as yet unnamed Dublin-based international betting business, which is to launch in the spring. He could not reveal any further details on the new venture until nearer the launch date.
Hartnett's replacement at The Tote will report to chairman Peter Jones and control a sponsorship budget in excess of pounds 2m and oversee PR for the firm's high street shops, telephone and internet offering, Totalbet.com, which is a joint venture with Sportinglife.com. The firm does not retain any external agencies.
Hartnett said a desire to return to his home country was the main reason for his departure. 'It had to be something special to drag me away, but the new venture is exactly that and allows me the opportunity of working at home in Dublin for the first time in my career,' he said.
In his role, Hartnett assisted with the launch of The Tote's Scoop6 and Exacta pool bets.
Previously, he worked for three years at Coral as racecourse PR manager, before which he was media relations manager for Ladbrokes. Before going into PR he worked as a racing reporter.
The Tote has nearly 350 high street betting shops and 60,000 telephone betting account-holders.