William Hill Appoints New CEO

Published July 8, 2014 by Lee R

William Hill Appoints New CEO

William Hill bids a fond farewell to one great leader and anoints the leader for its next generation.

An exhaustive search for a new leader to replace the retiring Ralph Topping at bookmaking giant William Hill has settled upon operations director James Henderson.

The Change

Ralph Topping is departing after a lauded 44-year career with the company.

Henderson has been formally promoted to the William Hill Board of Directors as CEO designate with immediate effect. He will officially take the office as of August 1st, as the optimal candidate culled from what was described as an “extensive and thorough review” of both internal and external candidates by chairman Gareth Davies.

Speculation Concludes

The official announcement concludes weeks of speculation as to the actual date of Topping's departure, as well as confirming swirling reports of Henderson's imminent ascendancy to the top position as well.


Henderson has honed his skills and candidacy as director of operations, where Henderson was in charged of the William Hill UK retail division, William Hill Online, William Hill Australia upon the departure of CEO Michael Sullivan; and William Hill US.

Henderson began his career as a trainee in a betting shop in West London before embarking on a highly successful career bookmaking of nearly 30 years.

Topping the Source of Inspiration

Henderson graciously credits much of his new opportunity to his predecessor at the helm of William Hill, saying: “Under Ralph as chief executive, the Group is in the best competitive shape I have ever known and he has created, in my view, an unrivaled team with an outstanding track record,” Henderson said.


The accomplishments of outgoing CEO Topping cannot be underestimated: since he replaced David Harding and became chief executive, he has been credited with leading the revival of William Hill, restoring it to its status as a UK gambling giant, in an adapted form.

Among other things, Topping supervised the joint venture of William Hill Online (WHO) with Playtech, which led to WHO's eventual full takeover in acquiring Playtech’s 29% stake in WHO for £424m.

The New Leadership Style

Diversity and sustainability are the two core values expressed by the incoming CEO. It is hoped that Henderson will continue to make diversifying deals that maintain the sustainable expansion approach of the “new” William Hill.

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