Aristocrat Leisure Limited has disclosed that current chairman Dr Ian Blackburne is to step down from his role, with current non-executive director Neil Chatfield set to assume the position, as part of an ongoing renewal and succession process.

Bringing an end to what will be an almost nine year tenure as chairman, after being appointed in September 2010 and serving as a board member approximately a year longer, Blackburne is formally relinquish his duties at the Aristocrat Annual General Meeting on 21 February next year.

Speaking of his time at the organisation, in addition to addressing his successor, Blackburne commented: “It has been a great privilege to have worked with an exceptional board, and many high quality executives, during almost ten years at Aristocrat.

“By every measure, the company has transformed over that period, and I am very gratified that it is now widely considered to be a global leader in land-based gaming, and an emerging leader within the dynamic and fast growing social digital industry.

“I particularly want to thank my board colleagues for their commitment and hard work, which has delivered great value to the business, and to me personally, in my role as chairman.

“I am also delighted to have an individual of Neil’s calibre succeed me as chairman. Neil’s depth of experience across some of Australia’s most successful and dynamic growth companies will be extremely valuable to the board, and broader organisation, going forward”

Chatfield was initially nominated for appointment to the Aristocrat board on 12 December 2017, before being formally appointed after gaining the necessary regulatory pre-approvals on 7 February 2018.

Commenting on the new position, he added: “I am honoured to be endorsed by my colleagues, and appointed to succeed Ian as chairman of the Aristocrat board.

“I look forward to working closely with my fellow directors, and the management team, to ensure we continue to unlock Aristocrat’s exciting growth opportunities, across both land-based and digital markets globally.”