William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH) (William Hill or the Group) announces that the Board of William Hill has secured the services of Ralph Topping as Chief Executive at least until 31 December 2013. Mr Topping, who will be 60 this July, was appointed Chief Executive in February 2008 and has worked for the Group for 40 years in a variety of operational and leadership roles.
Gareth Davis, William Hill Chairman, said: “The recent Annual General Meeting highlighted the fact that investors are keen to ensure the William Hill business is well led and I indicated the critical importance of keeping Ralph in the business. Ralph’s extensive experience over his 40 years in the business and his performance since being appointed Chief Executive have unquestionably demonstrated to the Board that he is uniquely qualified to lead William Hill through this critical transition period. The Board is delighted to have secured his services for the next few years.”
William Hill embarked on its ambitious growth plans in late 2008 with the establishment of the William Hill Online joint venture with Playtech Limited, which has since grown significantly. In addition, William Hill recently announced a number of strategic acquisitions in Nevada as part of its international expansion plans. The Group’s Retail business continues to outperform its leading competitors.
Ralph Topping, Chief Executive, commented: “We have made exceptional progress in the transformation of William Hill during the last three years. There are significant further opportunities ahead of us and I am pleased to have been asked by the Board to continue leading the business at this crucial time in William Hill’s growth and development.”
As part of the agreement to secure Mr Topping’s services as Chief Executive, the Board has agreed to a number of changes to his remuneration package for 2011, 2012 and 2013. With effect from 1 January 2011, Mr Topping’s salary will be £600,000 and, subject to his continued contribution, base pay may progress to levels around the upper quartile of the market over time. Mr Topping’s on-target bonus opportunity will reduce from 90% to 80% of salary and maximum awards under the Performance Share Plan will reduce from 150% to 100% of salary. A special, one-off retention award of 552,995 William Hill shares at 217p per share has been made to Mr Topping, which will vest on 31 December 2013 subject to continued employment.
Gareth Davis commented: “These changes are intended to move Mr Topping’s salary from below competitive market levels to reflect more closely Ralph’s unique individual experience and profile, and his criticality to the Group during the continuing transition of William Hill into a leading international betting and gaming business. The Board is committed to ensuring a smooth transition for the Chief Executive position at the appropriate time and this agreement provides important certainty as we develop our succession plans.”
Gareth Davis, Chairman
Ralph Topping, Chief Executive
Lyndsay Wright, Director of IR
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8918 3614
Simon Sporborg / Justine McIlroy
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959
About William Hill
William Hill is a leading betting and gaming company. It is one of the UK's largest bookmakers with over 2,350 LBOs in the UK and Ireland that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events and, in the UK, gaming machines are offered in every LBO. The Group’s online business, William Hill Online, is one of the leading European online betting and gaming businesses by profitability, providing sports betting, casino games, poker, bingo, numbers betting and skill games.