Rank Group hires betting industry veteran as first director of public affairs

Rank Group, the UK-listed gambling operator, has hired betting industry communications veteran David Williams to the new role of director of public affairs.

Williams (pictured) starts in the role on 3 December and will report to CEO John O’Reilly.

He will oversee Rank’s government relations and public affairs functions, and also take a leadership role in PR for the group and the various Rank brands, which include Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca.

Williams’ appointment follows the arrival of John O’Reilly as group CEO in April this year, and the transformation programme he announced at the company’s full year results in August, which looked at the future direction of the business.

Williams joins from racecourse pool-betting firm Britbet, where he was director of communications. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at Ladbrokes, most recently as director of media, having earlier headed the group’s consumer PR activity.

O’Reilly said: "David brings a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the group and I am delighted that we have secured him to fulfil what will be a pivotal role as we reposition Rank for success. His energy and passion for our industry, coupled with a track-record of delivering successful results will stand us in good stead for the regulatory challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

Williams said: "The opportunity to join John at such an exciting time for the group has proved irresistible. Ensuring that our public affairs, social positioning and industry relations are compelling and in-tune with wider regulatory affairs has never been so significant."

Recent weeks have been challenging for Rank, which reported a five per cent decline in like-for-like revenue in the 16 weeks to 14 October, with the retail operations declining faster than the digital business.

The company was also fined £500,000 by the Gambling Commission last month for failing to adequately protect a Grosvenor Casinos customer.

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