|Martin Hall moves
to non-executive role as lottery is on track to make just over half the amount
it promised for good causes
Martin Hall, the chief executive of Richard Desmond's Health Lottery,
is to step down as it emerges the venture is on track to make just over half
the £50m a year for good causes promised at launch.
& Shell, the parent company of The Health Lottery Group, stressed that Hall
was not stepping down as a result of the performance of the sweepstake.
He will move into a non-executive role to help navigate the venture
through the judicial review launched by rival Camelot, which runs the National
Lottery, which is challenging the Gambling Commission's decision not to revoke
or suspend the Health Lottery's licence.
When Hall unveiled the Health
Lottery alongside Richard Desmond in a high-profile launch last September a
pledge was made to deliver "at least" £50m a year for good causes.
However an email sent by Hall in
March, six months after the Health Lottery launched, says that it had made
"over £13m" meaning it is on track to make between £25m and
£30m for good causes in its first year of operation.
understood the Health Lottery has made just over £15m in the year to
date, meaning it looks set to make about £27m.
pointed out that the fact that the venture has not hit launch targets is
immaterial and the important point to note is that it has raised millions of
pounds of new money that charities and good causes did not have access to
"I have completed the launch process and now that the business
is in a different phase, it feels like the right time for me to step back from
day-to-day operations," said Hall.
However the underperformance of the
Health Lottery was cited by senior executives at Express Newspapers the
Northern & Shell-owned parent company of the Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday,
Daily Express and Sunday Express in staff meetings as one of the reasons
that there was a need to cut millions of pounds from the newspaper operation.
In March, Desmond announced a £5m cost-cutting plan at Express
Newspapers, home to the Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday, Daily Express and Sunday
Express, which includes scrapping 70 editorial posts and pooling content across
"The papers are the fall guy for the Health Lottery," said
one newspaper insider.
Hall, who has worked on the Health Lottery
concept for four years, will be replaced by IT and operations director David
Wall who will take the title of chief operating officer.
"I would like
to thank Martin for successfully leading the launch of the Health Lottery brand
and look forward to working together on new projects in the future," said
The Health Lottery draw is broadcast on Desmond-owned Channel
5 on Saturday nights and has been heavily promoted by his print outlets.
Earlier this month the advertising watchdog cleared the Health Lottery
of complaints that its ads are misleading, and that front-page articles in the
Daily Express and Daily Star were advertorials.
The Health Lottery has
attracted criticism from leading charity figures following its launch.
Critics have complained that the lottery donates the bare minimum
20.3p in every £1 to good causes, and that its
unconventional structure is potentially in breach of the Gambling Act 2005.
Camelot gives 28p of every £1.