Tombola has appointed an ex-Sage executive to the new role of chief operating officer.

James Beard held various roles at the tech giant over a 12-year stretch, and left the company as business development director for Europe, Asia and Africa.

At Tombola, he joins a new management team with four heads of department – Marc Russell, Karl Wood, Neil Guy and Ian Walshaw – having been appointed over the summer.

Chief executive Phil Cronin said: “In 2015 we said our ambition was to double our turnover and our headcount in five years. So far, we have exceeded targets set in our 2020 strategy and I’ve no doubt that James’s knowledge, drive and experience will help us deliver our ambitious strategy for accelerated growth.

James understands the ethos, values and culture of Tombola and he also understands our commitment to Sunderland we want tombola to be a growing Sunderland business which continues to recruit from within the city and wider North East.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with him during the next exciting chapter of Tombola’s story.”

Beard, who also spent time as a senior analyst at Goldman Sachs, said: “I was ready to move on, but wanted to stay in the North East and the tech sector.

“The potential for growth here is huge. All the talk used to be about start-ups, but now it’s all about scale-ups and there’s such a massive opportunity for that here at Tombola.”

He expressed his belief that there is “a lot more we can do” in the UK and stressed that there are “huge opportunities” overseas too.

“There’s a very solid foundation for growth – and a business model that has a very clear USP in terms of creating our own games, our approach to responsible gambling and customer experience being at the heart of everything we do.”