William Hill appoints new chairman

People News

William Hill announced the appointment of Roger Devlin as its chairman-designate with effect from 1 February on Wednesday.

The FTSE 250 bookmaker said Devlin would join the board as chairman-designate on 1 February and, following an induction and handover, would be appointed chairman on 2 April when Gareth Davis will stand down.

It said Devlin has “extensive experience” as an executive, non-executive and chairman in listed companies, including relevant experience of a number of businesses and organisations in leisure, sport, and betting and gaming.

He has been chairman of pub operator and brewer Marston’s since September 2013, and was also currently chairman of Sports Information Systems – in which William Hill plc is a 19.5% shareholder – and a non-executive director of the Football Association, although he will step down from both of those roles in January and June 2018 respectively.

Previously, Devlin was chairman of private gaming operator and developer Gamesys between 2006 and 2016.

Prior to building his experience as an independent director, William Hill said Devlin had a successful executive career which included a variety of senior and board level roles, spanning investment banking, industrial and international businesses.

That included more than 10 years with Hilton Group as group corporate development director and an executive committee member, as well as a board director for both the hotels and Ladbrokes businesses owned by Hilton Group at that time.

“Roger Devlin has extensive experience as a listed company chairman, in the City from his early days in corporate finance and across his sector relevant appointments at Hilton Group, Gamesys and SIS,” noted William Hill’s senior independent director Sir Roy Gardner.

“We look forward to him joining as chairman and continuing the strong recent progress the group has made under Gareth’s chairmanship.”

Sir Roy also said that, on behalf of the board, he wanted to thank Gareth Davis for his “considerable contribution and commitment” to the group over the past seven years.

“Gareth’s experience, energy and commitment have been of considerable benefit to William Hill as we seek to continue to grow the business online and internationally, and to deliver our strategy.

“We look forward to working with him in the coming months and wish him well for the future.”

William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said he has “greatly enjoyed” his time at William Hill, and was pleased the business was on a strong footing, continuing to grow with established strategic positions in key international markets.

“I will be working closely with Roger Devlin in the coming months to introduce him to the business before I step down as planned and I wish Roger all the best for his future at what is a great company.”

I recognise that there are both immediate challenges to address for the industry and considerable medium and longer term opportunities for the group, and I look forward to working with Philip Bowcock, his executive team and the board to deliver further progress for the group and shareholders,” Devlin added.