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May 2013

William Hill CEO Topping To Stay On

by Renee Israel

Topping to Remain at Helm of Will Hill

Ralph Topping, current Chief Executive Officer of leading UK gambling group, William Hill, has committed to heading up the company until the end of 2015.

Topping said on Thursday that he would continue in his role as CEO of the group, despite the fact that he had been widely expected to step down from the British gaming giant at the end of 2013.

The news of the extension of Topping's tenure was greeted with satisfaction by William Hill's board, who issued a statement shortly after the CEO's decision.

"The board is delighted that Ralph will remain with the group for the coming years as we continue to manage the succession planning for the chief executive role," said the group in its statement.

The search is already on for a successor, and William Hill is examining options from inside and outside the firm.

In June 2011, William Hill said that it would be retaining Topping until at least the end of 2013, and the news that this time frame would extend to 2015 came as a surprise to industry analysts.

Forty Three Years with William Hill

Ralph Topping has spent the past 43 years with William Hill and stepped into the role of CEO in 2008.

During his time as head of the UK gambling group, Ralph Topping has overseen massive growth for the company, including overseas expansion.

Most recently, Topping headed the deal to take over Playtech's share of William Hill Online, as well as the acquisition of the Sportingbet's Australian interests. Both deals involved sums of over £800 million.

Shares for the group have risen 74% in the past year.

William Hill CEO Ralph Topping has not been without controversy, and was recently criticised by shareholders for accepting a £1.2 million retention bonus. Nearly half of the group's investors voted against the big pay deal.

William Hill in Strong Market Position

Market analysts believe that William Hill is in a strong market position, as the industry moves away from traditional high street betting to online and mobile betting, especially in-play products.

In 2009 William Hill paid out total dividends of 7.5p per share, increasing the sum to 10.4p a share in 2012. Analysts forecast that the dividends will keep rising and reach 11.4% this year and 12.7p in 2014.

William Hill trades at 16.1 times its 2012 earnings and will continue to have a larger stake in fast-growing markets around the world.



Story Highlights »
  • William Hill board delighted with Topping's extension of his contract.
  • Under Topping, Will Hill shares have increased 74% in the past year.

William Hill

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