Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy has said he will step down from that role in a year's time.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Mr Kennedy said he had always had a personal view that after ten years at the helm, change is good, both for the business and the individual.  

"With this in mind, I have today given notice to the board of my intention to step down next April, the tenth anniversary of my appointment," he said.

Mr Kennedy joined the group in 2005 and has been CEO since January 2006.

In its interim management statement ahead of its annual shareholder meeting today, Paddy Power said that growth so far this year has been strong with total net revenue up 5%.

The company said its strong growth last year has accelerated in 2014, with sportsbook stakes up 20% in its online operations and by 5% in retail. 

Shares in the company closed more than 4% lower in Dublin trade.

After the unfavourable sports results in January, Paddy Power said that results were once again poor across the betting sector in March. "The adverse results in the period were concentrated in football resulting in our two worse weekends ever for football profitability," the company stated.

It said that this contrasts with overall positive sports results in the same time last year, which will unfavourably impact its year on year first half results. 

Paddy Power said that like for like retail stakes grew by 5% in the period from January to May 11 - 4% in Ireland and by 8% in the UK. 

The company has opened 25 new shops so far this year, 11 in Ireland and 14 in the UK. The group now has a total of 234 units in Ireland and 280 units in the UK.

In Australia, Paddy Power said it continues to take significant market share while it also benefited from a higher gross win percentage. 

Its Italian online business saw a 10% share of the sports betting market and increased the share of the casino market to 3%. With football accounting for over three quarters of sports betting in Italy, next month's World Cup will be a key opportunity for gaining new customers, the company said.