London-listed gaming operator Rank Group has appointed industry veteran John O'Reilly as its new chief executive officer.

O'Reilly joins the operator as chief executive on May 7th and steps down as non-executive director of rival William Hill today (April 30th).

He replaces Henry Birch, who tendered his resignation in March in order to join UK online retailer Shop Direct. 

O'Reilly is an experienced gambling executive, having worked in the sector for more than 25 years. In an eighteen-year career with Ladbrokes, he was instrumental in developing the operator's online betting offering and expanding the business beyond its core UK market.

He then joined Gala Coral in 2011 as managing director of Coral Interactive, overseeing the relaunch of the Coral brand online before stepping down in 2014. O'Reilly was then appointed to the William Hill board as a non-executive director, also chairing its transformation oversight committee.

"John brings a wealth of gambling industry experience, particularly in digital, and I am delighted that he is joining the board of Rank as its chief executive," Rank chairman Ian Burke said. "His impressive reputation and track record for delivering growth mean he is well-equipped to drive our performance going forward.

"I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our thanks to Henry Birch for his significant contribution over the last four years and wish him well in his future endeavours."

Commenting on his new role, O'Reilly said: "I am excited to be joining Rank, a company synonymous with the UK gaming industry. Rank has very strong brands which resonate with customers and a growing digital offering and I look forward to building on this strong platform and taking Rank onto its next stage of development."

Rank has also appointed its retail managing director Alan Morgan to the board as an executive director. Morgan joined Rank in 2016 as managing director of the Mecca Bingo retail business, before his remit was expanded to also include the Grosvenor casino estate in October last year. He previously served as chief operating and commercial officer of Spirit Pub Company.

"I am delighted that Alan is joining the board as executive director," Burke said. "With his in-depth understanding of our business, I am confident he will contribute significantly to the future development of Rank."

Shares in Rank Group plc (LSE:RNK) were trading up 1 per cent at 176.35 pence per share in London Monday morning.

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