Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine has revealed that he is to step down from his position this year, with the search for his replacement now underway.

Senior non-executive director John Kelly will lead the search for the operator’s new chair, with Erskine to work with the board to ensure a smooth transition once a new candidate is identified.

Erskine has served as chairman and non-executive director of Ladbrokes since 2009, having served as chairman and chief executive of telecommunications giant O2, leaving that position in 2008. He previously held senior positions with BT, UNITEL and Mars, and currently serves as a director of Telefónica.

“Since becoming Chairman six years ago, Ladbrokes has undertaken the necessary and difficult journey to modernise much of our business operations to enable us to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing digital market and a challenging retail and political environment,” Erskine said of his tenure. “In that time real progress has been made.”

“ In recent months I, and the Board, have overseen the transition from Richard Glynn to a new CEO, Jim Mullen. I feel that now, with stronger foundations in place and with our new CEO looking to build on the changes made, it is the right time for there to be a change in Chairman to one who will be able to see out the entirety of the next stage of the journey.”

“It has been a real honour to be the chairman of Ladbrokes for these past six years,” he said. “The search for my successor will begin now and I will step down when my successor is in place.”

“Until that time, my focus will be on helping Jim formulate and then implement his plans for the business.”

Erskine’s departure has seen shares in Ladbrokes plc (Co.Data) (LSE:LAD) fall 1.98 per cent to 103.90 pence per share this morning.

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