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    FULL TILT POKER’S CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER RESIGNS, AMIDST REPORTS OF COMPANY “BRAIN DRAIN” AND WORKFORCE DISINTEGRATION

    Posted by Quad Jacks August 19, 2011

    POCKET KINGS’ CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION

    Lothar Rentschler, the CMO of Pocket Kings, Ltd., has turned in his resignation at the company. We have learned this via an email he has sent to multiple industry recipients, dated Tuesday of this week (August 16, 2011). In it, he claims to have turned in his resignation that same day. He writes:

    “This was, after almost 3 years with the company, not an easy step… It was 3 years with many challenges and also many successes… However, given the current circumstances, I do believe it is a long overdue step towards the right direction.”

    He addresses the current standing of Pocket Kings, Ltd.:

    “I do apologize for the inconvenience the current circumstances at PKL have caused for you personally as well as for your respective companies. Our hands in Marketing were bound and at the end even every communication was stopped. Again, I can only apologize for this situation. The future will hopefully see a better, well organized structure and a return to business as usual. To see the brand FTP going down that way, hurts a lot.”

    Mr. Rentschler’s resignation will be effective September 13th of this year – just two days before the deadline for the upcoming hearing in London between Full Tilt Poker and The Alderney Gambling Control Commission to discuss the possible restoration of the former’s license.

    ABOUT LOTHAR RENTSCHLER

    Not much is publicly known about Mr. Rentschler, and he is decisively less known than Ray Bitar and Nelson Burtnick. As an upper management executive, he was likely to have worked closely with or directly under both of them. He is also reported to have been the immediate superior of Chris Porter, an FTP player manager hit by controversy for recent allegations of having illicitly sold rakeback accounts.

    Mr. Rentschler is a native of Germany, but lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. His activities and responsibilities while CMO at PKL should be of particular interest to readers, in light of numerous allegations that Full Tilt Poker has spent massive amounts of money on marketing, some believe to very irresponsible extents and possibly involving the appropriation of players’ unsegregated funds. (It is still mostly unknown how/if this took place, and under whose exact direction.)

    POSSIBLE MOTIVE(S) FOR RESIGNATION

    First, it is important to note that the tenure of the average CMO at one company is typically very transient, due to the fickle nature of the marketing environment. According to this Forbes article, a CMO’s average “shelf life” is 28 months, roughly the same time Mr. Rentschler says he has been with PKL.

    My first hypothesis at learning of this departure (if indeed it began from Mr. Rentschler, without pressure from some other entity) was that the “new investors” might have already started cleaning house and/or re-staffing the company. I discussed this with our friend and correspondent “Hippy,” who has considerable business experience. He shook his head at this idea. “They wouldn’t do that until they had ownership. And they won’t have ownership until they’ve announced it,” he told me. “Pocket Kings is a registered limited company, and they’d need to change the directors. That would either be picked up by the business press, or a keen observer, so they’d announce it first.”

    In Hippy’s opinion, Mr. Rentschler might have been offered a job at another company, “with more security and possibly better pay. The wording of the email makes me believe that it’s not an uncommon decision. Most staff are probably looking at other options. I think he may actually be one of the guys who may know some of the more interesting details, but he’s never going to spill them.”

    Mr. Rentschler’s possible “defection” to another company, if true, would not be an isolated incident. Which brings us to our next topic.

    “BRAIN DRAIN” AND DISINTEGRATION OF COMPANY WORKFORCE/RED PROS

    We have heard reports, from sources we have verified to be within Pocket Kings, that since Black Friday there has been/continues to be a “Brain Drain” from employees of PKL to other online gaming companies, mainly to Paddy Power, which also has offices in Dublin. Up to 30 PKL staff have reportedly quit, and made the move to the Paddy Power offices.

    (This may cause concerns for any investors looking into acquiring Full Tilt Poker, as these employees are likely to have been the more qualified and experienced staff, and such a large exodus might diminish the quality of FTP’s operation.)

    Reports of widespread dismissals/resignations from Full Tilt Poker employees have been prominent in the news during the last few weeks. On August 7, WickedChops wrote that they had heard “from multiple sources that the aforementioned Full Tilt Poker has (finally) laid off some of their U.S.-based employees.” (This was not long after Brad Booth, on our program, said he knew of two long-time FTP employees who had recently been let go.) On August 8, Nahuel Ponce, the Argentinian editor of ESPNdeportes.com, tweeted that “Full Tilt has decided to suspend all activity of the international department.” This was later taken to mean that the company had released all of its international employees and “country managers,” which has been corroborated by Mike Matusow on our show. (We have also been able to verify the dismissal of a few specific countries’ managers.)

    Some of Full Tilt Poker’s sponsored professionals are also undergoing a kind of “silent” resignation. When Randall Kasper and Eugene Castro, agents with PPI (Poker Players International), were on our program on August 9, we were somewhat startled to hear them say that some of the Red Pros they represent no longer consider themselves affiliated with/employed by Full Tilt Poker. James Bord and Mike McDonald have made similar implications on our program. Despite not having yet made any public announcement to the matter, a number of Red Pros are apparently “quitting,” or have done so already.

    This silence is unlike the case of Erich Kollman, an Austrian (former) Red Pro whose publicly disclosed official resignation from the company last week went largely underreported.

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