December 20, 2017 / 7:43 AM / in a year

British bookmaker William Hill names Roger Devlin as next chairman

FILE PHOTO: A branded sign is displayed outside a William Hill betting shop in London, Britain July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

(Reuters) - British bookmaker William Hill (WMH.L) said on Wednesday it named Roger Devlin as its chairman-designate, who will take over from Gareth Davis in April.

The appointment comes at the end of a detailed search process for picking a successor for Davis, who had indicated he would step down after the 2018 AGM.

Davis, who also chairs Ferguson Plc (FERG.L) and DS Smith Plc (SMDS.L), has seen William Hill walk out of talks on two potential deals in the last year including a three-way merger with bingo hall operator Rank Group Plc (RNK.L) and 888 Holdings Plc (888.L).

Media reports had also suggested that Davis came under attack from the company's investors over failed merger talks with the Canadian company.

The appointment caps a year of management transitions in the company, which named a new CEO and CFO in March.

Devlin is also chairman of British pubs company Marston’s Plc (MARS.L) since September 2013.

Devlin will join the board on Feb. 1 and will start as chairman on April 2, when Davis steps down.

(This version of the story corrects to replace Wolseley Plc with Ferguson Plc in third paragraph to reflect change in the company’s name)

Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Sunil Nair

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