FanDuel co-founder Nigel Eccles leaving the fantasy sports company

EcclesFanDuel has announced that chief executive Nigel Eccles, who co-founded the company in 2009, is leaving the post and stepping down from the board of directors to “focus on his next venture”.

The board said in a statement: “Nigel achieved something remarkable — he completely redefined an existing industry. His passion, intelligence, and focus have been the bedrock of FanDuel’s success. We would like to offer our sincere thanks as he leaves to pursue his next venture.”

Updated 22 November: The Herald reports that Eccles intends to base the engineering team for his ne eSports venture in Scotland. “I’ve got a really deep affinity with Scotland, which has some of the best software engineers in the world and deep talent in games development. I’m in New York but I’ll build the engineering team probably in Edinburgh.”

A St Andrews University maths graduate, Eccles worked for McKinsey and Johnston Press before launching news prediction game HubDub, and then the daily fantasy sports business FanDuel with his fellow co-founders, transforming the way that millions of Americans experience sports.

Him and his wife, Lesley, co-founded FanDuel with Tom Griffiths and Rob Jones. HubDub had been a critical, but not financial, success and the team decided on a switch in focus while attending the  SXSW Festival, having noted the popularity of sport on the prediction site. Their key innovation was to make traditionally season-long fantasy sports a daily game.

Lesley Eccles stepped down from the board earlier this year; Griffiths and Jones are still with the company. Matt King, who served as chief financial officer of FanDuel from 2014 to 2016, has been named as Nigel Eccles’ replacement. “He is an exceptional executive who knows the business intimately, and has a clear vision for its next phase of growth,” said the board’s statement.

King said: “It’s an incredible honour to return to FanDuel at such an exciting time for the company. Over the past eight years, Nigel has built one of the most disruptive companies in the sports world. I look forward to working with our talented team to make FanDuel the place for fans to engage with sports they love in new and exciting ways.”

“With his strategic vision, range of experiences, and broad skillset, I cannot imagine a better individual to steer FanDuel forward,” said Eccles. “With tremendous legislative strides in the past two years and the business moving into profitability in Q4, FanDuel is in a great position. I know Matt is the leader to capitalise on the momentum in the sports technology space to take FanDuel to the next level.”