Henderson confirmed as next William Hill CEO

By Emma Rumney
Bookmaker William Hill has confirmed to the London Stock Exchange this morning that James Henderson will replace long-standing CEO Ralph Topping effective from 1 August.

Henderson, the firm's director of operations, had been tipped as the likely candidate to head the group early last month as Topping's resignation at the end of July approached. Henderson has served three decades with the firm, most recently overseeing Hill's Australian business acquired from Sportingbet last year.

Topping, who has been with the company for 44 years and spent six as its chief executive, said as a "one company man" who has long enjoyed working with Henderson, he wishes him and the rest of Hill's management team "all the success in the world in continuing to take the company forward".

Henderson said: "I am both delighted and excited to be taking on the leadership of William Hill during its 80th anniversary.

"Under Ralph as chief executive the group is in the best competitive shape I have ever known and he has created, in my view, an unrivalled team with an outstanding track record."

Henderson added that while the industry faces challenges, there is plenty of potential to strengthen William Hill by "diversifying revenues and continuing to build a responsible, sustainable business".

The bookmaker has said that Henderson will receive a basic salary of £550,000 (€694,000/$944,000) annually.

Gareth Davis, the group's chairman, said that after an "extensive and thorough review of both internal and external applicants" Henderson was best suited to the role.

Davis continued: "His breadth of knowledge spans the whole group, having worked in both the major divisions, overseen the establishment of William Hill US and, most recently, taken responsibility for William Hill Australia.

"His established relationships, both with the strong cadre of senior managers and within the wider industry, ensure he is the best person both to sustain the momentum William Hill has achieved under Ralph and to progress further the digital and international diversification of the group."

On behalf of the entire board, Davis thanked Topping for his "strong leadership and direction during challenging times", creating a "market-leading business", extending the group's international reach and establishing a team capable of sustaining that growth over the coming years.

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