William Hill step up their search for a new CEO as reports suggest Ralph Topping may step down as early as the end of the year, and Playtech have decided to pay their shareholders a special dividend.
William Hill have been forced to announce details of their search for a successor for CEO Ralph Topping after The Times leaked the news that the Hills guvnor would be leaving at the end of the year. Topping, 62, had originally planned to leave his position at the end of 2015, after spending more than 40 years with the bookmaker that made him CEO back in 2008.
A Hills’ spokesperson has since told eGaming Review that Topping remains “committed” to sticking to his 2015 exit timeline and that Hills’ board had “prudently instigated” the process of finding Topping’s replacement in order to properly vet candidates and ensure a smooth transition. International executive and non-executive search firm Zygos have been tasked with finding Topping’s successor.
Topping joined WH as a part time Saturday boy at one of their betting shops near Hampden Park and has been responsible for WH’s move into he FTSE 100, and several critical business changes, including the acquisition of the Australian bookmaker Tom Waterhouse and the severence of their deal with Playtech back in February 2013.
Playtech to Pay Shareholders a Special Dividend
The gaming and software company that was once tied at the hip to the aforementioned Mr. Topping have announced a special dividend of £100m, in addition to maintaining is total dividend for the year flat at €23.2 per share.
The announcement comes after a strong start to 2014 has seen daily average revenues for the first seven weeks of the year up 15% year-on-year, and following on from the €491.3m in pretax profits it earned in 2013.
A big reason that Playtech shareholders are now raising a glass into the air is that 29% sale of Playtech stock back into the coffers of Topping and his men that the two companies signed off on back in 2013 for a juicy looking €496.5m.
“As online gambling continues to develop, it is pleasing to see Playtech’s investment in mobile and further product development paying-off,” non-executive Chairman Alan Jackson said in a statement. “Playtech has further strengthened its position as the world’s leading supplier of technology and services for the online gambling industry, and the board looks to the future with confidence and optimism.”