Hammonds partner to head internet firm

Leading Hammond Suddards corporate finance partner Richard James is leaving the firm to go in-house with a major client, Sports Internet Group.

James' new position is believed to be managing director of the sports division. His appointment is understood to be subject to board approval.

“I can confirm that discussions with them are taking place about taking up an in-house position,” says James.

James is highly-rated in Hammonds' corporate finance unit. He specialises in management buyins and buyouts, acquisitions and disposals.

His new role will essentially be a commercial one, representing a shift away from the law, although his responsibilities are also likely to include overseeing legal affairs within the company.

Sports Internet Group is an AIM-listed online betting company run by chairman Chris Akers and chief executive Jeremy Fenn, the two entrepreneurs, who formerly owned Leeds United football club.

Last month Sports Internet snapped up Surrey Group for £19.7m which will enable the company to offer offshore betting services.

In June, the company acquired Opta Index Limited, the sports media and information company and, in May, spent £25m on Planetfootball, a company which designs and maintains 20 sports websites, including the official sites of Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Leeds United.

Hammonds senior partner John Heller says: “Richard is first class and we wish him every success. This is a great opportunity.”