Fomer Sheffield student Denise Coates named Britain's best paid boss with huge £323m payday

A former Sheffield student has confirmed her place as Britain’s best paid boss – with a whopping £323 million pay day.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 12:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 4:56 pm

Bet365 boss Denise Coates has retained her position as the UK's best paid executive – a far cry from her days as a student in Sheffield.

The co-founder of the online gambling firm was paid a £277m salary plus dividends as the popularity of online gambling continues to grow.

The firm's accounts show that in the year to end-March her salary rose from £220m on the previous period.

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bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates (Photo by Sean Dempsey - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates (Photo by Sean Dempsey - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The privately held company is owned jointly by Ms Coates and members of her direct family, including her brother John, who is joint chief executive, and her father Peter, the firm's chairman.

Ms Coates earned a first-class degree in econometrics - the application of statistical methods to economic data - from Sheffield University before joining the High Street betting firm, run by her father.

She identified the potential of online gambling in 2000 and invested in the domain name Bet365.com so that she could drive the family business in that direction.

Bet365 made a profit before tax of £791m in the year, compared with £661m the year before.

The firm paid dividends of £92.5m, half of which are thought to have gone to Ms Coates, as the owner of about half of Bet365's shares.

The group of firms owns Stoke City Football Club, which made a loss of £8.7m in the year.

The mum of five is intensely private and little is known about her wealth and family life.

Bet365 employs around 3,000 people - including her own husband Richard Smith, who serves as group property director.

The pair met at Sheffield University, where she earned a first class degree in the 1980s.

The firm is perhaps best known for its television adverts starring movie and TV hardman Ray Winstone, who has been the face of the Stoke-based gambling company for several years, with regular appearances during televised football matches making the campaign one of Britain’s best known.