March 27 British bingo and casino operator Rank
has appointed online gambling specialist Henry Birch as
its new chief executive, the company said on Thursday.
Birch, 45, succeeds Ian Burke who moves into the role of
non-executive chairman in changes that take effect from May 6.
Birch was the chief executive of William Hill Online
, a joint venture between the British bookmaker and
gambling software company Playtech, for four years
until October 2012.
Rank, majority-owned by Malaysia's Guoco Group,
reported a 23 percent fall in first half profit in January
because of falling customer numbers at its bingo halls.
Burke, 57, had been in the chief executive's role at Rank
for eight years and said it had been his decision to move on.
"With his track record in the online betting and gaming
sector, the Rank board believes that Henry is well-equipped to
lead Rank's continued exploitation of growth opportunities in
the gaming and leisure markets," the company said.
Rank said last week that it planned to open three new bingo
halls in Britain after the government cut tax on the game.
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bangalore, editing by William