Ladbrokes to hire media chief to support growth

Ladbrokes is on the hunt for its first head of media relations in order to take advantage of increased media interest in sport and rapid company growth.

Alex Pagett, group corporate affairs director at Hilton Group, which owns the betting shop chain, said an increase in sports coverage on TV had created ‘tremendous media opportunities’, adding that Ladbrokes needed to better communicate its online innovations, which had delivered dramatic growth.

Ladbrokes’ interim results for the six months to 30 June 2004 included a 51 per cent increase in turnover to £4.8bn.

‘The business is undergoing a renaissance in terms of range of experiences and fortunes, and there is a raft of positive opportunities we need to take advantage of,’ Pagett said.

The head of media, who will lead an in-house team of five, will also focus on communicating Ladbrokes’s CSR initiatives. ‘We are working hard on the community side, showing that we are responsible for our customers and ensuring they are not being exploited,’ said Pagett.

The position-holder will also respond to media interest in the deregulation of gambling: ‘The industry has been under review for years and there is a great deal of activity in government lobbying. Although CEO Chris Bell handles most of the lobbying work, the head of media will assist in the process.’

Operating profits for the eGaming division reached £12.1m in the six months to 30 June, while telephone betting profits grew £8m to £11.8m and UK retail profits improved by £36.5m to £119.6m.

Ladbrokes uses The Red Consultancy for consumer PR and LLM Communications for public affairs.

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