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Flutter Entertainment has recruited former newspaper journalist Steve Hawkes as its director of reputational and public affairs in the UK and Ireland.

Hawkes held roles with several major British newspapers – including The Mirror, The Times, The Sun and The Telegraph – since the early 2000s, before joining international communications agency BCW Global as senior director and head of strategic media in 2019.

In his role at BCW, Hawkes provided senior strategic communications advice and media counsel to the company’s clients across its London office. He is expected to begin his new role at Flutter in August this year.

Commenting on his new appointment on LinkedIn, Hawkes said: “Delighted to say that next month I will be joining Flutter, the FTSE30 global sports betting and gaming business, as director of reputational and public affairs in the UK and Ireland.

“Flutter operates some of the world’s most popular sports betting and gaming brands, including Betfair, Paddy Power and Sky Bet, and is committed to leading the way in player protection and safer gambling. I can’t wait to get started,” he added. 

This is not the first time the UK gambling industry has looked towards Fleet Street for help with managing its waining reputation.

In February 2020, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) recruited PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield as director of communications and digital. He has since left the trade body to return to journalism as the political editor of HuffPost.

A changing of the guard is underway at Flutter after UK and Ireland CEO Conor Grant announced he would stand down from his role at the helm of the business to dedicate more time to his family life.

Grant’s replacement, Ian Brown, will now join Flutter from outside the gaming industry, having previously held leadership roles as the CEO of Rentalcars.com between 2014 and 2019 and following that, as the SVP of Booking.com.

Brown is expected to join the business in September.

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