London-listed gaming operator Rank Group has announced the resignation of chief executive Henry Birch.

Birch has given the company 12 months notice that he intends to step down to join British online retailer Shop Direct as its new chief executive.

He has led Rank Group since May 2014, having previously served as chief executive of William Hill Online.

He will continue to lead the business until a successor has been identified to ensure an orderly transition.

"The Board would like to thank Henry for his significant contribution to Rank over the past four years and will continue to work closely with him and the executive management team during this leadership transition," the company said in a statement.

Shares in Rank Group plc. (LSE:RNK) closed in London Tuesday, prior to the announcement, at 224.50 pence per share.