tombola, one of Europe’s leading online entertainment companies, has head hunted a top people person to drive its people strategy and promote continued growth.

Debra Ballantyne has joined Sunderland-based tombola from M24Seven, one of the UK’s fastest growing connectivity and internet infrastructure providers, where she was Director of People.  tombola develops high quality online entertainment, focussed around affordable bingo and their version of casino games.

“We are three years into our 20:20 five-year strategy to double our turnover and workforce so our people strategy is crucial,” explained tombola’s Chief Operating Officer James Beard.

“We’re ahead of our projections and also just about to move into our new high-spec headquarters in Sunderland.  Focusing on our people will help us continue to promote technological innovation, drive growth and achieve our international ambitions,” he added.

“Debra’s appointment will help us do that – she joins us with a huge amount of experience having worked in technology companies such as Sage and most recently M24Seven.”

As Director of People at M24Seven Debra was responsible for the creation and implementation of their people strategy.

“Debra will be focusing on developing and expanding our own people strategy, part of which involves forming a wider people function. This will consist of HR, culture, recruitment, learning and development and internal communications. Bringing these teams together into a single department will help support us to achieve our ambitious growth plans, People initiatives and objectives.”

Debra, who is originally from Newcastle and studied at Sunderland University, said: “I’m thrilled to have joined such a dynamic and creative team at tombola. I always feel extra proud working for a company that started in the North East as I’ve always lived here, so when this opportunity came up I jumped at the chance.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining a tech company that is growing fast and number one in both the UK and its international markets. The technology, originality and innovation evident at tombola really excites me because it creates enormous opportunities for people and career development, which is very rewarding.

“There is already a great family culture at tombola and the move into our new high spec HQ is only weeks away, which has everyone feeling excited. The new building looks breath taking and has been designed to promote even greater interaction and collaboration, which is fantastic for the people who will work there.”

The company currently employs more than 380 staff in the UK and 70 across Italy, Spain and Gibraltar. It has one of the region’s largest tech teams – and unlike many other technology companies, tombola’s own designers and developers create all the games, content and software for its popular and successful website and apps, as well as tombola arcade, a new offering giving people the opportunity to play arcade games on the go.


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