bwin.party has appointed Vodafone director Philip Yea as chairman of its board of directors to succeed Simon Duffy, who announced his intention to step down from the role late last year.

Yea (pictured) has been appointed an independent non-executive director of the company with immediate effect, before taking over the chairmanship from Duffy after bwin.party’s annual general meeting on May 22nd.

The operator’s chief executive Norbert Teufelberger said he was delighted to welcome Yea to the company.

“Philip brings a wealth of experience that I am sure will prove invaluable as we continue our transition to nationally regulated markets,” said Teufelberger.

Yea was hired through a recruitment process conducted by a committee of independent directors assisted by an external recruiter.

“I am excited to be joining bwin.party at this interesting stage in its development,” Yea commented. “There are some exciting opportunities and challenges for the business as it looks to leverage its technology, further reduce costs and build shareholder value through development of its regulated business, particularly in the US.”

Duffy, the operator’s first chairman following the merger of bwin and PartyGaming in March 2011, announced his decision to step down in December last year.

Yea currently serves as a non-executive director of Vodafone Group plc and Aberdeen Asian Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc, as well as serving as chairman of the board of trustees of the British Heart Foundation.

Yea previously served as chief executive of 3i Group between 2004 and 2009, and also as managing director of Investcorp. Before moving into private equity he worked for drinks company Diageo as finance director.

Yea has also held non-executive directorships with a number of companies, including UK football club Manchester United and HBOS plc and Halifax plc, and served as deputy chairman of clothes manufacturer William Baird plc.

bwin.party’s deputy chairman and senior independent director Rod Perry welcomed Yea to the board.

“His extensive investment and financial experience coupled with his background of serving on public company boards will prove invaluable as he leads the Board through bwin.party’s next chapter of evolution,” Perry said.

Yea has been granted a holding of 83,380 bwin.party shares in his personal pension plan.

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