There is an old definition of an accountant, and that is ‘someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had, in a way that you don’t understand.’ There are others, but this was the kindest I could find!
On the face of it, Derik Mooberry, the recently appointed CEO of Zitro USA, might be seen as conforming to this stereotype. After graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 1995, he served six years with global accountancy giants, Arthur Andersen. And learning that Derik is a keen golfer (and rules official), this initial picture is somewhat underscored by his belief in what it takes to keep his team motivated.
“I believe in keeping score and defining what winning looks like. So, I look to post a lot of numbers in a scoreboard format, so everyone knows exactly how we are doing.”
However, before you all doze off, this cliché does not do Derik Mooberry the justice he so clearly deserves. Not only did he warmly endorse the idea of presenting his image in this abstract and deeply unconventional format, he also is Nevada to his core, holidays in Hawaii, enjoys red meat and red wine and is an avid fan of the San Francisco 49ers. Not your everyday accountant, then?
“I look for people who want to have fun and work hard,” he says when asked what he seeks when building a team. “Everyone’s job is a significant part of their life, and we need people who enjoy what they do.”
A skill set that is almost unmatched
Derik left Arthur Andersen and came over to the bright side over 20 years ago, joining Bally in 2001, as Senior VP of Gaming. The experience gained over 13 years at Bally led to a further seven years with Scientific Games, in roles that included Group Chief Executive – Gaming. And upon joining Zitro USA as CEO, company founder Johnny Ortiz described Derik as “bringing a skill set that is almost unmatched in today’s gaming industry.” High praise from a man who knows a thing or two.
“To have a true partnership, vendors like us need to take a ‘listen first’ approach,” says Derik. “Often times one can get excited and want to talk about all our new products. However, listening to the customer first helps us to put together a plan to better assist them.”
And so, the accountant evolved into a sales and marketing guru.
A global company that has arrived in America
Ask anybody in the gaming industry about Zitro and most will come up with the obvious phrases… Spanish manufacturer, founded in 2007 in Barcelona by Johnny Ortiz, Sebastian Salat is Group CEO, big in Latin America… all the usual things. But ask them about Zitro USA and they may not know so much.
As Derik explains, “Zitro USA might not be known to large groups in North America yet. However, Zitro is a truly global company, with over 1,000 employees and market leading positions in many countries around the world.”
A few months into his role, feet firmly under the table in Zitro USA’s sleek offices in Henderson, just 25km south-east of Las Vegas, how does Derik view the company’s impact?
“We recently released our Glare product line, four different cabinet configurations with unique content offerings for each. There is a place for all four offerings on any casino floor, as each fulfils the needs of a specific segment. With players continuing to migrate towards newer cabinets, with larger screens and form factors and an emphasis on entertaining bonus rounds, the opportunities for Zitro are very exciting!”
Heading in the direction of a healthy future
And in such a dynamic and often unpredictable industry, Derik and his team are prepared for the challenges ahead. “In the short term, the Covid-19 pandemic has left the entire industry facing supply chain issues and labour shortages. But we are heading in the right direction. We are seeing record revenue numbers from operators in almost all regions of the US and the rapid expansion of online gaming and sports betting also promises a healthy future.”
And clearly, 2022 and beyond offers immense potential for companies like Zitro, “You can expect to see continued growth throughout the US. We are actively seeking additional licences which will allow us to showcase all our product lines to a hungry new customer audience.”
And, we have to ask, will this growth encompass payment technologies?
“I continue to believe there will be increasing use of electronic funds across casino operations. We have all witnessed the change in other industries and gaming will likely follow. As for cryptocurrencies, I believe that players and customers will use currencies that they feel are the safest and easiest to use.”
Discipline, vision, creativity and hard work
So, there you have it. Derik Mooberry, as Johnny Ortiz suggests, brings a mixed skill set to the Zitro table. The disciplines of an accountancy background combined with the vision and creativity that characterises the best in gaming. And, of course, the pragmatism that a strong leader must possess.
“As a child, I soon realised that I lacked the talent to be a professional athlete. But I have always had a passion for numbers. I love quantifying things to solve problems and my father instilled in me the belief that if you work hard, good things can happen. If we achieve all of our goals then, to me, this means that we didn’t set the bar high enough!”
As a wise sporting pundit once so rightly said, “Talent doesn’t work if the talent doesn’t work,” and this, to me, is the very essence of what has driven Derik Mooberry to the seat he occupies today.