Veteran Director to Leave William Hill After 45 YearsJake Cooper | 04 May 2017
Graham Sharpe, who has worked at William Hill for 45 years and 1 month, has just confirmed in a Racing Post interview that he is leaving the company and that his post of Media Relations Director will soon be vacant. He has been synonymous with the well-respected brand and with gambling as a whole for decades, and even now is not going to be completely absent.
A Leading Force in the Industry
Sharpe joined the William Hill team in 1972, way before that sportsbook or any other was even able to go online, and has risen to the challenges that changing technology and a changing client base presented him with. He is credited with many innovations, and current William Hill Communications Director Ciaran O’Brien has commented that Sharpe’s name has been synonymous with gambling.
O’Brien elaborated by saying there was a long time when you couldn’t look at a tabloid newspaper and not see the name Graham Sharpe in connection with a betting story. He also added that Sharpe had managed to shape the public relations profile of William Hill, and to change the perception of the gambling industry on the whole, during his tenure.
Sharpe is credited with introducing several new concepts to betting, such as a market on who shot JR Ewing in the 1980s, in response to that event occurring on the wildly popular soap opera and millions of fans wondering whom the culprit was. He was also the first to allow betting on what the Christmas number 1 single would be, and whether it would be a white Christmas or not.
Maintaining Good Relations
In addition to developing novelty and political betting, Sharpe was instrumental in the establishment of the William Hill Sportsbook of the Year prize. He actually co-founded the award, which is William Hill’s longest-running sponsorship initiative, so it’s not surprising that he has agreed to remain as an advisor on the competition.
Indeed, it seems there are no hard feelings as Sharpe has said that he had intended to think about leaving after the 30th edition of the competition next year, which would coincide with his 68th birthday. However, he was informed this year that he was at risk of redundancy and he and the betting firm went through a process to formalise his slightly earlier exit. Being able to remain associated with the William Hill Sportsbook of the Year competition appears to have shown Sharpe how much he is respected, and to have kept relations very amicable.