Power Players

The UK's top-earning CEO bags record $422 million payday

Bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates poses with her Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal
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Denise Coates, the U.K.'s highest-paid CEO and founder of global gambling business Bet365, took home a record-breaking £323 million ($422 million) paycheck this year.

Coates, believed to be Bet365's highest-paid director, paid herself nearly £277 million for the year to the end of March 2019, according to the company's accounts which were published on Tuesday.

This increased from the £220 million she earned last year, retaining her crown as the U.K.'s highest-earning boss.

Coates also took home half of the company's £92.5 million total dividends, from her 50% stake in the business.

Altogether this worked out at a £323 million paycheck for the gambling boss, equating to £1.3 million per working day of the year, which was widely reported to be a record paycheck for a U.K. director.

Coates' base earnings were more than 9,000 times the U.K.'s average salary of £29,400.

Forbes estimated Coates' net worth at $12.2 billion, sitting 244th on its Billionaires 2019 list.

Bet365 saw net profits increase by 18% to £685 million in the year to the end of March 2019.

The company made an £85 million donation to the billionaire's charity the Denise Coates Foundation this year, an increase on the £75 million donated the previous year.

Coates, 52, has a first-class degree in econometrics, the application of statistical methods to economics, from the University of Sheffield.

She originally trained as an accountant and worked in her father's betting shops. Then in 2000, noting the growing popularity of online gambling, Coates launched Bet365 from a building in a carpark near one of her father's shops.

Bet365 also owns British soccer team Stoke City, of which her father, Peter Coates, is chairman.

Her father is also a co-founder of the business, while her brother, John Coates, is co-chief executive.

According to an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, back in 2012, Coates originally failed to get funding from venture capitalists to get the business off the ground. Instead, she borrowed the money from her family and British bank the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Coates said she and her family bet "everything" on the launch of the company, saying they were the "ultimate gamblers."