Belfast Telegraph

William Hill appoints new chairman

The group said Roger Devlin will join the board as chairman designate on February 1 and take over from incumbent Gareth Davis on April 2 next year.

Bookmaker William Hill has named betting industry veteran and Football Association director Roger Devlin as its next chairman.

The group said Mr Devlin will join the board as chairman designate on February 1 and takeover from incumbent Gareth Davis on April 2 next year.

His appointment comes at a crucial time in the betting sector amid a wave of consolidation, with rival Ladbrokes Coral reviving takeover talks earlier this month with Foxy Bingo owner GVC in a deal worth up to £3.9 billion.

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William Hill also said last month that it was in early-stage discussions over a possible tie-up between rival CrownBet and its Australian business.

Mr Devlin is currently chairman of Sports Information Systems (SIS), a betting data firm which is 19.5% owned by William Hill, while he is also a non-executive director of the Football Association.

He will step down from both of these roles in January before joining William Hill.

He was also chairman of private gaming operator and developer Gamesys for 10 years until 2016, while he has chaired pub group Marston’s since September 2013.

And his career has seen him previously act as a board director at Ladbrokes while it was part of the Hilton Group.

Sir Roy Gardner, senior independent director of William Hill, said: “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.”

He added: “On behalf of the board, I would also like to take this early opportunity to thank Gareth Davis for his considerable contribution and commitment to the group over the past seven years.”

Mr Devlin acknowledged he would be joining William Hill with “immediate challenges to address for the industry”, but said there are “considerable medium and longer term opportunities for the group”.

The sector has been under pressure amid uncertainty ahead of the Government’s gambling review, which is expected to significantly cut earnings from lucrative fixed-odds betting machines – dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling.

Outgoing chairman Mr Davis said: “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.”

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