William Hill sticks to 2015 as date to replace CEO

LONDON Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:12am EST

LONDON Feb 17 (Reuters) - William Hill, Britain's largest bookmaker, said on Monday it was sticking to a planned timetable to replace its veteran CEO in 2015, despite a media report it wanted a successor in place this year.

The company said it still envisaged a new CEO would take over next year, the previously announced retirement date for Ralph Topping, who has spent over 43 years with the firm, and became CEO in 2008.

The Times newspaper reported on Monday that the bookmaker was seeking to replace Topping a year earlier than expected and would look to hire someone from outside the company as leading internal candidates were not ready for the role.

William Hill said in a statement it was looking at both internal and external candidates to fill the position.

Under Topping, William Hill has become a leader in online gambling in Britain and expanded into markets such as Spain and Australia through acquisition, but third-quarter profit undershot forecasts in October.

The firm is due to publish full-year results on Feb. 28.