'Leeds can overtake Manchester as a digital economy' says Flutter CEO ahead of £15m new office opening

Leeds has the potential to overtake Manchester as a major digital economy, the chief executive of Flutter in the UK and Ireland has said.

Conor Grant told The Yorkshire Post that the city was ‘underexploited’ and had much more to offer as a top tech destination.

Rankings of digital economies around Britain consistently place Manchester ahead of other Northern destinations but Mr Grant, whose Leeds-based firm includes brands such as Sky Betting and Gaming and Paddy Power, said he believed the city could catch up and overtake it. Speaking ahead of the official opening of Flutter’s new £15m headquarters in Leeds, he said: “Leeds could equal if not beat Manchester.

“We collectively have to shout more about Leeds being a major digital hub.

Conor Grant, Flutter's CEO for UK and Ireland.

“Leeds is a major hub. Somewhere like Leeds can really drive. Channel 4, HMRC are all coming here.

“High quality jobs are coming to this region, we have got to make sure the infrastructure is there and that we continue to invest in the universities.

“Leeds is underexploited. It has huge potential.”

Mr Grant added that further investment in infrastructure was key to making the city realise this potential.

Flutter's new head office in Leeds. Pics via TSK Group

“We have got to make more noise as a city on the Government’s levelling up agenda and look for more inward investment,” he said.

“Public transport infrastructure is a key part.”

Flutter is about to officially launch its new Leeds headquarters at 4 Wellington Place, inset, bringing all of its Leeds functions under one roof.

Eighteen months in the planning and spanning nine floors, it will offer flexible working spaces, meeting areas and areas designed for collaborative work.

Flutter's new head office in Leeds. Pics via TSK Group

Eighty per cent of the workforce has already been into the new building but Mr Grant said that, for the time being, staff will be working on a flexible, hybrid model.

He added: “It continues our investment into Leeds. We are the largest private employer in the city.

“And it is something to be proud of as a building. We aspire to be a great place to work.

“The secret sauce for this business historically was collaboration and the ability to execute at speed.

Flutter's new head office in Leeds. Pics via TSK Group

“With the type of business we want to give people autonomy and empower them to work in teams.

“We are seeing on a weekly basis around 50 per cent of people coming in at least one day a week.

“We don’t want to put pressure on people.

“But I think in time people will just gravitate back into offices.

“I firmly believe that over the next 18 to 24 months we will return to a more normalised way of working.”