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EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS – Five-to-one on the bean-counters.

Few businesses require more bean-counting skills than a betting shop, and so it comes as little surprise to discover from the William Hill prospectus that no fewer than five of its six directors are chartered accountants. FD Robert Lambert is an ex-Price Waterhouse man, as is non-executive director Keith Hamill, who is the FD of WH Smith. Other non-exec chartereds include Michael Blackburn, who is an ex-chairman of Touche Ross, and Charles Scott, former Saatchi FD and now chairman of Cordiant. Finally, chairman Ian Martin is an old chartered hand from Grand Metropolitan, which is the former owner of William Hill. The only non-beancounter on the board is managing director John Brown, who joined Hills as an office junior back in 1959. But at least with him on board there should be no problems for the company in keeping the books, as well as making them.

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