After 45 years with the bookmaker, public relations guru Graham Sharpe is leaving United Kingdom-based William Hill.
Sharpe, who in March 1972 signed on with the company as a betting shop board man, confirmed in an interview with the Racing Post that he is vacating his post as media relations director effective this week sometime.
The 66-year-old Sharpe is the co-founder of the bookmaker’s longest serving sponsorship initiative, the ‘William Hill Sportsbook of the Year,’ which he also chaired the judging panel. Additionally, the area of novelty and political betting was patented by Sharpe.
Redundancy terms agreed to, Sharpe will remain with the UK-based bookmaker in an advisory capacity on the company’s Sportsbook of the Year competition, according to the Racing Post.
In the interview with the Post, Sharpe, who made betting front page news, said, “In the 45 years and one month I’ve worked for this company I’ve never asked to leave.”
He went on to say, “I’d have liked to have seen the William Hill Sportsbook of the Year through to the 30th edition in November next year, which would coincide with my 68th birthday and was in the back of my mind as an ideal time to quit.
“Then I was told I was at risk of redundancy and we went through a process. I’ve been offered the opportunity to remain associated with the William Hill Sportsbook of the Year, which I have accepted,” he said.
Joining the Hills with a journalistic background, Sharpe has authored 30 books, the majority of which are about gambling or football in addition to the recently published biographies of William Hill and Dorothy Paget.
Betting markets were also famously opened by Sharpe on ‘Who shot JR?’ which was based on the 1980 US primetime drama “Dallas” as well as on a white Christmas and the number one Christmas single.
Sharpe’s role in helping to change the overall perception of the gambling industry as well as shaping the firm’s public relations profile was praised by Ciaran O’Brien, Communications Director at William Hill, who said, “Graham’s name was synonymous with gambling. You couldn’t pick up a tabloid newspaper without reading his name in association with a betting story,” according to the Racing Post.
Sharpe told the Post he remembers what he considers to be “perhaps the flashiest, craziest and most striking” bet he’s ever taken, was that from Lawrence Tout, who bet 1,000-1 that he would be struck by lightning.
Earlier this month, the global online gaming bookmaker which is responsible for over 2,300 betting shops in the UK, announced that later this year, Ruth Prior, the current CEO for British payments processing technology and solutions firm Worldpay, would be joining its corporate ranks.