UK land-based and online gaming operator Gala Coral has bolstered its management team with the appointment of Fiona Thorne as director of corporate affairs.

In the newly-created role, Throne will lead the development and delivery of the operator’s communication strategy, covering public affairs, financial PR, corporate positioning and issue management.

She will report directly to group chief executive Carl Leaver, and officially takes up the role next month.

Previously Throne spent more than 16 years at multi-national communications agency Fishburne Hedges, joining in 1997. During her time with the company she established the business’ first overseas office, and spent five years as managing director of the company, before being appointed to the role of chief executive two years ago.

Gala Coral CEO Leaver explained that it was critical for the operator, and the wider gambling industry, that the company could participate in the debate about the role of betting and gaming in today’s society.

“We are delighted to have been able to hire someone of Fiona's experience and expertise to help us have the dialogue we need with all those who have an interest in the sector,” he said.

Commenting on her appointment, Thorne described the role as an exciting opportunity to be part of “a fantastic management team running a business which is well loved by many but not without its challenges and critics.”

“I am very much looking forward to getting immersed in the business and working with the team to meet the business's objectives,” Thorne added.