BGC starts hunt for new chief executive 

The BGC was founded in 2019.
The BGC was founded in 2019.

The Betting and Gaming Council is seeking a replacement for Michael Dugher as he steps up to become chair.

UK.- The British gambling industry lobby group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced that it is looking for a new chief executive. The successful applicant will take over from Michael Dugher, who has been the group’s chief executive since it commenced work in 2019 and who will act as chairman from April.

The BGC said it was looking for someone “who can lead and inspire the industry, and further build trust and confidence in the UK gambling sector; both within the industry itself and with external stakeholders”.

The group stated in the announcement: “The chief executive must be able to quickly grasp the commercial and regulatory challenges facing the gambling industry. We require an individual who can act as an effective advocate for the industry at the most senior levels, build and maintain strong trusted relationships, influence the political and media debate, and work with a wide range of stakeholders.

“Working with and reporting to the Executive Chairman, the chief executive is the key role in shaping the future of the organisation and will be responsible for building and developing the team in their vision.”

The BGC began life in 2019, representing both online and land-based sports betting operators, casinos, bingo and gaming, with both large groups and independent bookmakers among its members. It aims to promote ethical standards, foster a culture of safer betting and gaming and build public and institutional trust in the industry. The BGC noted that its members support 110,000 jobs, generate £4.2bn in taxes, and contribute £7.1bn to the economy in GVA (Gross Value Added).

The BGC has been a vocal supporter of industry interests amid the UK government’s review of gambling legislation and the Gambling Commission’s consultations following the publication of last year’s Gambling White Paper

Departure of Brigid Simmonds as BGC chair

Dugher was appointed as the BGC’s first chief executive in December 2019. From April 21, he will take the position of chairman, following the departure of Brigid Simmonds.

Dugher paid tribute to Simmonds’ “incredible work” for the organisation. He said: “She has made a massive contribution during her four and a half years as chairman, launching the organisation and bringing together the different sectors.

“She has also led a change programme across the industry that has seen a relentless focus on raising standards on safer gambling. Brigid is a high-integrity leader who is rightly held in huge regard, not just in the betting and gaming industry, but across so many other industries and sectors, and across the political divide.

“Together with a new CEO in the spring, I look forward as chair to building on that success and continuing and intensifying the work of change on standards, speaking up for the tens of thousands of men and women who work in the industry, and ensuring that the millions of people who enjoy a regular bet can do so enjoyably and safely.”

Simmonds, who has chaired the BGC since its formation, said: “It has been a privilege to play my part in the development of the BGC since its formation in 2019 and it has been an honour to represent the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on the regulated betting and gaming industry.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our members, large and small, to raise standards, create a culture of safer gaming and build public and institutional trust in our world class industry. I would like to thank the executive committee, colleagues, members, charities and stakeholders, who have supported me and worked very hard to deliver all of the achievements of which the BGC is rightly proud.”

Dugher was previously CEO of UK Music and a member of the UK government’s Creative Industries Council. He was MP for Barnsley East for seven years from 2010 and served in the shadow cabinet including as shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport. Before that, he spent most of the previous decade working in Whitehall in a variety of senior roles as a special advisor, including at Downing Street as chief political spokesman to the Prime Minister. He was born and raised in Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

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