William Hill casts net to find new chairman

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The Independent Online

William Hill has appointed the headhunting firm Egon Zehnder to seek a new chairman to replace the industry veteran John Brown. The company announced earlier this year that Mr Brown will stay in the role until the end of the year to help the group see through a period of deregulation for the betting industry. He had previously been due to leave in May after 44 years with the group.

Mr Brown caused surprise in July when he sold £5.7m of shares, which the stock market interpreted as a negative signal for the company's fortunes.

It is understood that there has been some concerns within William Hill over the pace of change within the gaming group and the company is anxious to find a new chairman to help oversee a more radical approach to the industry's opportunities. The company is trying to modernise its operations in order to take advantage of the changes deregulation will bring to the gaming sector but is concerned it has not been moving fast enough.

The board's nominations committee consists of Charlie Scott, the former Cordiant chairman, Barry Gibson, the former Littlewoods chief executive, and David Allvery, a former finance director of Barclays Bank.

It is thought the headhunters are looking externally for a successor to Mr Brown. However, some analysts believe Mr Gibson would be a good internal candidate. If he decides to put himself forward he would have to step down from the nominations committee.