Founder of moves on

Top technical director resigns to spend more time with his family

One of the longest established and best known companies in the online gambling industry,, has announced the departure of one of its founding directors.

Non-executive director Shay Ben-Yitzhak, has resigned with immediate effect to spend more time with his family. Ben-Yitzhak, who holds a BSc in computer science from the Israel Institute of Technology, has been a non-executive director since June 2006, and was previously the chief technical officer of the company. He has been in charge of research and development since the establishment of 888's research and development centre in Tel Aviv in 1998.

He was formerly a software engineer for Tower Semi Conductor Limited and CIBAM Technologies Limited. chairman Richard Kilsby, said: "I would like to express on behalf of the board and all at the company our appreciation of Shay's contribution as one of the original founders of the business, and in growing the company from its infancy to where it is now. We wish him all the best for the future."

In related news, Israeli business news site The Marker reported Saturday that another co-founder of the company, Aharon Shaked, had passed away at age 58 following a long and courageous battle with illness.

Previously a dentist, Shaked made a fortune in the online gambling world together with his brother Avi Shaked after they established 888 Holdings - then Cassava Enterprises - in 1997.

Industry history records that 888's pioneering online gambling concept was born at a dentistry conference in Monte Carlo in the 1990s, when Shaked noticed the large amounts of people gambling in the tiny principality's legendary casino. Returning to Israel, he carried the idea further with his brother, visiting land casinos in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, where they augmented their almost non-existent knowledge of gambling and studied how it could be translated to the nascent Internet environment.

The brothers reportedly mortgaged their homes in 1995 to provide the funds they needed to start, building it successfully to acceptance on the London Stock Exchange in 2005. Aharon and Avi Shaked owned 70 percent of the stocks, each eventually selling shares worth $91.3 million, but retaining stock worth $267 million each.

Aharon Shaked is respected for the extensive philanthropic work that he has carried out with his wealth.

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