William Hill appoints insider James Henderson to top role

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William Hill has picked an insider to succeed Ralph Topping, who is stepping down as chief executive this summer after 44 years with the bookmaker, reports Deputy Business Editor Greg Wright.

James Henderson has been with the group for 29 years and is currently operations director with oversight for the UK retail business, online and William Hill’s businesses in Australia and the United States.

He will take over as chief executive when Mr Topping, who has overseen a period of rapid growth for the company during his six years in charge, steps down at the end of this month.

William Hill, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, is the UK’s biggest bookmaker with 2,400 betting shops and an industry leading online operation. It employs more than 1,000 staff in Leeds.

Chairman Gareth Davis described Mr Henderson, who started with the company as a trainee manager, as a “natural bookie”.

He added yesterday: “He understands gambling, he understands how technical it has become and he understands all the channels.”