William Hill ties in chief with £1.2m shares
BETTING chain William Hill has paid its chief executive Ralph Topping shares worth £1.2m to keep him in post until the end of 2013, it said yesterday.
Topping will receive a £600,000 salary in 2011 with raises in 2012 and 2013 to stay at William Hill, but has reduced his bonus and long-term incentive plan.
The 60-year-old has spent 40 years at the company but since being made chief executive in 2008 has increased its operating profit by 21 per cent.
The one-off share award, of 552,995 William Hill shares at 217p per share, will vest to Topping at the end of 2013 subject to him staying at the firm.
“The recent annual general meeting highlighted the fact that investors are keen to ensure the William Hill business is well led and I indicated the critical importance of keeping Ralph in the business,” said chairman Gareth Davis. “These changes are intended to move Mr Topping’s salary from below competitive market levels to reflect more closely…his criticality to the group.”
Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram said Topping’s promotion to lead William Hill “proved the catalyst for a more ambitious online strategy” that has outstripped that of its rival Ladbrokes.