Henry Birch was most recently head of online operations at William Hill plc
The British land and online gambling group Rank plc has announced the appointment of industry veteran Henry Birch (45) as chief executive of the group.
Birch will succeed Ian Burke (57) on May 6, when Burke takes up the responsibilities of non-executive chairman of the company.
Birch was most recently CEO of William Hill Online, a now dissolved joint venture between Will Hill and internet gambling software company Playtech, a post he held for four years.
Burke has been in the chief executive hot seat at Rank for the last eight years, and said Thursday that he had made the decision to relinquish his post.
"The Rank board believes it appropriate to ensure that the company benefits from some continuity to ensure a smooth transition of executive responsibilities," a company announcement said.
"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."
Birch is currently a non-executive director of the AIM-listed CFD trading platform operator, Plus 500 plc and has more than 20 years' experience in the industry.
Prior to working at William Hill Online, he was the chief executive officer of Leisure & Gaming plc, an AIM-listed company that owned and operated a number of online and retail betting and gaming subsidiaries.
Previous to that, Birch was the chief operating officer of Bettingcorp Ltd, an Israeli company focused on the development and operation of online and interactive TV gaming platforms, and in earlier years of his career he held management roles at Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting and Riffage, an early digital music operator based in Silicon Valley, and started his career working in the House of Commons.
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