Friday 26 December 2014

Bookmaker William Hill appoints operations director as new CEO

Published 04/07/2014 | 08:19

Noel Fehily riding Silviniaco Conti (R) clears the last to win The William Hill King George VI Steeple Chase from Cue Card
Noel Fehily riding Silviniaco Conti (R) clears the last to win The William Hill King George VI Steeple Chase from Cue Card

Bookmaker William Hill has appointed its operations director James Henderson as chief executive, turning to an insider to see the group through a challenging period for the industry.

Henderson, who has been with the group for 29 years, will replace retiring chief executive Ralph Topping on Aug. 1, who steps down after 44 years with the firm and six as CEO.

The leadership change comes at a time when the gambling sector is facing huge financial pressure as the British government is tightening controls on betting shops and high-stakes gambling machines.

William Hill has already announced the closure of 100 British betting shops this year, blaming a tax increase on high-stakes gambling from 20 percent to 25 percent.

"Whilst we face challenges as an industry, there are also plenty of opportunities to keep strengthening William Hill by further diversifying our revenues," Henderson said in a statement.

Henderson, who joined 29 years ago as a trainee manager, will be paid a base salary of £550,000 (€63,4000) per year and will be eligible for the firm's bonus plans.

Topping was criticised by some shareholders last year for collecting a 1.2 million pound retention bonus.

He will remain an employee of William Hill, claiming a yearly salary of 650,000 pounds and providing advice to the board whilst serving his one-year notice period that started on July 3, the company said. He will also be considered for a bonus.

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