The turnover at the top of the California Lottery continues with Robert O'Neil deciding to step down at the end of the day Monday after 18 months as director.
The lottery will be headed on an interim basis by Chief Deputy Director Paula LaBrie until Gov. Jerry Brown makes a new appointment, according to Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the lottery.
Brown removed Joan Borucki as lottery director shortly after his election in 2010, and the post was filled on an interim basis by Linh Nguyen until the governor appointed O'Neill, who was a principal at KPMG.
In an email to lottery staff on Friday, O'Neill said he was resigning "to pursue other personal and professional interests."
"The past 18 months have been an eye-opening, challenging and rewarding experience for me," he wrote. "I found that the lottery essentially is a small city, operating 24/7 and 365 days a year."
Lottery sales grew under O'Neill to $4.4 billion last year, with $1.2 billion going to schools, Traverso said. During his term, the state entered the multistate Powerball game.
"Still, there is more to accomplish," he wrote to employees. "The lottery has just adopted a three-year strategic focus that includes: enhancing our products by launching a $20 Scratchers ticket; expanding retailer recruitment; growing our players by reaching out to lapsed and new players; and continuing to retool the lottery's infrastructure and business processes."
Complete text of O'Neill's email to the staff:
From: Robert O'Neill
Sent: Friday, July 12, 2013 3:59 PM
I am writing to announce that effective July 15, 2013, I am resigning as Director of the California State Lottery to pursue other personal and professional interests. The past 18 months have been an eye-opening, challenging and rewarding experience for me. I found that the Lottery essentially is a small city, operating 24/7 and 365 days a year. It has many of the functions you would find in a city, including its own cooling plant for our Headquarters building; an around the clock security force; revenue generating capabilities; and a full slate of administrative and management functions.
Probably the most compelling aspect of the Lottery that I witnessed is the Lottery Team's commitment to its mission - - - generating funds for public education in California. It is simple, straight-forward and universally understood and respected by Lottery employees. In essence, it is the tie that binds us all together.
During my tenure at the Lottery, I am proud of what we have accomplished, including expanding our Sales and Marketing efforts, generating hundreds of millions more in funding each year for public education, and launching the State's highly successful entry into Powerball.
Still, there is more to accomplish. The Lottery has just adopted a three-year strategic focus that includes: enhancing our products by launching a $20 Scratchers ticket; expanding retailer recruitment; growing our players by reaching out to lapsed and new players; and continuing to retool the Lottery's infrastructure and business processes. I am confident that our Senior Leadership Team can successfully execute the plans we have developed for the future.
I would like to thank everyone at the Lottery for their help and support in my time at the Lottery. In the words of one of my sports idols growing up, Jim Brown of the Cleveland Brown's football team, "Life is a Team Sport." I appreciate the opportunity to have played on your team.