British gaming conglomerate The Rank Group PLC has today announced the appointment of ex-Plus500 director Henry Birch, who had been elected to succeed Ian Burke as chief executive of Rank with effect from May 6, 2014.
Mr. Burke, who is currently also executive chairman of The Rank Group, will become non-executive chairman with effect from May 6, 2014. According to a release by the firm today, The Rank Group’s board believes it appropriate to ensure that the Company benefits from some continuity to ensure a smooth transition of executive responsibilities.
Plus500, an CFD broker which has demonstrated somewhat unprecedented success in its endeavors, including its rise to prominence as a highly efficient company with a high value subsequent to its successful IPO on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), yesterday produced a public document detailing Mr. Birch’s resignation from the Board as non-executive director, stating that a replacement will be sought.
45 year old Mr. Birch had until yesterday’s announcement, held the position as a non-executive director at Plus500, having more than 20 years of experience in the betting and gaming sector and in online and broadcast media. Most recently he was the chief executive officer of William Hill Online, the joint venture between William Hill plc and Playtech plc, which managed William Hill’s online business.
Prior to working at William Hill Online, Henry 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. In the years precedent to that, Mr. Birch held the position of chief operating officer of Bettingcorp Ltd, an Israeli company focused on the development and operation of online and interactive TV gaming platforms. Prior to working in the gambling industry, 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.
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
The Rank Group’s board concluded by stating its wish to thank Mr. Burke for his commitment and hard work over the past eight years and is delighted that, after consultation with a number of its shareholders, the Company will continue to benefit from his significant experience in his role as non-executive chairman of the Rank Group.
The appointment of the highly experienced Mr. Birch shows that there is a great affinity between the very upper level leadership of gaming firms and successful retail FX companies, and that the talent within both industries is indeed aligned and transferable.