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Penn National makes changes to board and executive team


Land-based and online operator Penn National Gaming has appointed Marla Kaplowitz, current president and chief executive of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), to its board of directors.

Subject to customary regulatory approvals, the appointment will expand the size of the Penn board to eight members.

In her current role, Kaplowitz heads up 4A’s, a trade association serving over 600 member agencies across 1,200 offices across the US, who between them are responsible for over 85% of total domestic advertising spend.

Since joining the association in 2017, Kaplowitz has modernized the 100-year old organisation and reduced member attrition through a comprehensive range of offerings which reinforce member value, including diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, according to Penn.

Prior to her role at 4A’s, she served as chief executive of North America at media agency MEC Global, now Wavemaker Global, where she led the organisation to introduce innovative approaches to attracting, nurturing and retaining the industry’s top executives.

“Marla is an innovator and a proven leader in marketing and digital transformation, which will serve us well as Penn National continues its evolution into the nation’s leading omnichannel provider of retail and interactive gaming, sports betting and entertainment,” Penn National chair David Handler said. “We’re delighted to have her unique talents on the Board.”

As Kaplowitz joins the operator’s board of directors, Penn’s general counsel, Carl Sottosanti, is set to retire following a 17-year stint with the operator. He will be replaced by veteran legal executive, Harper Ko.

Sottosanti will retire effective December 31, 2020, and Ko will become executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary as of January 1, 2021. Ko joins from financial services and gaming technology provider Everi Holdings, where she served as executive vice president and chief legal officer.

Penn said Carl Sottosanti has played a critical role in helping drive the company’s growth and evolution since joining in 2003, as vice president of legal & business affairs and deputy general counsel.

He helped lead the legal and regulatory efforts around Penn’s acquisitions of Hollywood Casino Corporation and Argosy Gaming, each of which doubled the size of the operator at the time.

“Throughout his career at Penn National, Carl has been known for his tireless work ethic, dogged determination, and fierce advocacy in support of our company’s interests,” said Jay Snowden, president and chief executive.

“Carl has been a trusted personal advisor and a consummate teammate, and while he’ll be leaving behind some big shoes to fill, I’m confident that Harper Ko will do a great job in carrying on the standard of excellence that Carl has established for our Legal Department.”