GVC Selects Former William Hill Executive as New Chairman

JM Barry Gibson will take over as non-executive chairman at GVC after his appointment. Gibson will replace Lee Feldman after holding the position for 11 years.

GVC Appoints Gibson as New Chairman

JM Barry Gibson is the new GVC non-executive chairman. His appointment takes effect immediately and will replace long-serving (11 years) Lee Feldman, who’ll hand over on February 27, 2020. Currently, Gibson serves as HomeServe’s chairman, a position he’s had for close to a decade.

It’s during his reign there that the business grew into a market leader in the FTSE 250. Apart from his stint in the home emergency repair business, Gibson also has significant experience in the gambling sector. He was a Senior Independent Director at Bwin.party Digital and also a non-executive director at William Hill.

Further, Gibson held senior positions at the National Express and Somerfield as well as Littlewoods as group chief executive and at British Airports Authority as the group retailing director.

According to Stephen Morana, the GVC senior independent non-executive director, one of the main criteria they used was that the incoming chairman must have had significant experience in the gambling industry. Further, they looked for a track record of success while serving on multiple public company boards.

Further, Morana said that they wanted a person with a deep understanding of the corporate governance landscape terming it as “evolving.” “After an extensive search, Barry stood out as exceeding all of those criteria, and we are delighted that someone of his caliber and experience is joining GVC to help us realize our ambitious plans for future growth.”

On his part, Gibson spoke about his delight after his appointment, saying that he was glad to join GVC at a point when the company is experiencing a growth trajectory. The new non-executive was also keen to note that GVC packs top-of-the-line technology, people, products, brands, and marketing capabilities and that he sees “enormous potential” in the business.

In March 2019, Lee Feldman announced his departure after serving for 11 years as GVC chairman. Nevertheless, some shareholders took up issue with him selling 900,000 shares valued at £6.0m. Despite this, Feldman has been instrumental in the company’s growth.

The most notable being the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral in 2018. A deal that cost GVC £4bn (€4.49bn/$5.55bn). Feldman’s exit also comes after the Financial Reporting Council implemented a revised corporate code in January that requires all public companies to explain whether the board chair has held the position for over 9 years.

Stephen Morana also praised the outgoing chairman. “On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank Lee Feldman for playing such an instrumental role in GVC’s transformation from a small AIM-listed business to a major Main Market, premium listed company. We wish him the very best for the future.”

GVC experienced turbulent times this year after they paid 5.9 million pounds in fines after the Ladbrokes failed to adhere to gambling addiction safeguards set by the gambling regulator.

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