Hills chief expects Wilson to boost US strategy

19 October 2018

William Hill chairman Roger Devlin has backed the appointment of Gordon Wilson to the UK bookmaker’s board of directors to provide a vital strategic boost to the company’s attempts to exploit opportunities in the US market.

Wilson, the president and CEO of Travelport Worldwide, will join William Hill as an independent non-executive director on January 2. He will arrive just over a month after the departure of Roy Gardner, who will step down from the board “due to anticipated commitments” on November 20.

Travelport is a travel distribution platform, offering flight, hotel and car bookings, as well as providing mobile apps and technology services to airlines such as EasyJet, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Delta.

Wilson, who also chairs travel payments provider eNett, has served as Travelport CEO since 2011. In 2014, he led the company through a successful IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Gordon brings extensive experience of the development and use of proprietary technology and data at scale on a global basis,” Devlin said.

“This, alongside his knowledge of the US market in particular, bring great value to William Hill given our strategic priorities and focus on capturing the opportunity provided by sports betting regulation in the US.”

Wilson, who will become a member of the board's corporate responsibility and nomination committees, added: “It is a fascinating time to join the board of William Hill and I look forward to bringing my experience to the table to play a part in the ongoing growth of the business.”

Hills was the first company to take a legal sports bet in New Jersey in June. In the first half of this year alone, the company signed sports betting partnerships with 11 casinos in Mississippi and a casino in West Virginia and held talks with operators spanning 14 other US states.

Last month, William Hill US underlined its ambitions for the market by becoming the first sportsbook operator to seal an agreement with a franchise from the four established North American major leagues through a multi-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL ice hockey team.

Following Gardner’s departure after four years on the board, Mark Brooker, currently non-executive director, will assume the role of senior independent non-executive director.

Brooker, who joined the board in April 2017, is currently chair of the corporate responsibility committee and is a member of the nomination committee, remuneration committee and audit and risk management committee.

He was previously chief operating officer and an executive director at Betfair.