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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Industry veteran Roger Devlin to take over as William Hill chairman in April

William Hill: retail revenue only rose one per cent
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Roger Devlin will bring his extensive experience of the betting industry to William Hill from April next year when he is set to succeed Gareth Davis as chairman.

Devlin, 59, has held several roles in the sector, including being a board director of Ladbrokes when they were part of the Hilton Group.

He is currently chairman of SIS, although he will leave that role at the end of January, and was chairman of private gaming operator and developer Gamesys between 2006 and 2016.

He is also chairman of brewers Marston's and a non-executive director at the Football Association, although, again, he will step down from that position next year.

William Hill were criticised for a lack of betting industry experience on their board until the recruitment of industry heavyweights John O'Reilly and Mark Brooker last year, and Devlin's arrival will improve that further.

The sector is facing up to the prospect of heavier regulation in 2018, including the government's review of FOBTs.

Devlin said: "William Hill is a business and brand I have greatly admired during my years in the leisure sector and more recently as chair of SIS.

"I recognise there are immediate challenges to address for the industry and considerable medium- and longer-term opportunities for the group. I look forward to working with Philip Bowcock [chief executive], his executive team and the board to deliver further progress for the group and shareholders."

Devlin will join the bookmaker as chairman designate on February 1 before taking over from Davis, who was appointed in 2010.

Davis said: "I have greatly enjoyed my time at William Hill and am pleased the business is on a strong footing, continues to grow and has 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."  

William Hill's share price rose 1.4p to close at 315p by close of Wednesday on the back of the news.

Analysts at Dublin-based stockbrokers Goodbody said in a note: "Overall this seems like a good appointment from William Hill. Mr Devlin has a broad range of executive and board experience, particularly in the leisure and, more importantly, the gambling sector."

Devlin has been chairman of SIS for nine years and SIS said they expected to make an announcement about his replacement in the new year.

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William Hill is a business and brand I have greatly admired during my years in the leisure sector and more recently as chair of SIS
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