The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed the appointment of Andrew Rhodes as interim chief executive, following the departure of Neil McArthur after an almost 15 year tenure in March of this year.

The regulator says that the hire of Rhodes, who will join later this month, is for an 18-month period and follows a “thorough search and highly competitive process”.

Boasting over 20 years of private and public sector experience, he joins from Swansea University where he was registrar and chief operating officer.

Prior to his role in higher education, Rhodes held senior roles at a range of organisations including the Department for Work and Pensions, Food Standards Agency and the DVLA.

“The Gambling Commission is one of the world’s highest profile and most respected regulators so I am delighted to join the team at such an important time,” Rhodes said.

“Protecting the public and players from gambling harm will continue to be central to our work, and I am looking forward to meeting people from across the industry and those with lived experience to understand the issues and opportunities which lay ahead.

“This is a great time to have the opportunity to work in gambling regulation. The Government’s Gambling Act review represents a fantastic opportunity to deliver real and sustained improvements in the way gambling is provided and regulated. As the regulator we have a unique and important role to play at the forefront of that change.”

Upon the departure of McArthur, the UKGC board decided to recruit for an interim CEO in order to allow the successor to current chairman Bill Moyes, whose term of office ends later this year, to appoint a permanent chief executive. An announcement from the Secretary of State is expected in due course.

Since McArthur’s exit, deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and chief operating officer Sally Jones have shared the role of acting chief executive.

Moyes added: “Andrew has a first-class track record of delivery, strong leadership and innovation both in the private sector and in the civil service.

“I have no doubt he will prove to be an exceptional appointment here at the Commission and it comes at a time when the spotlight is on gambling regulation and operators. I am looking forward to working closely with Andrew as I prepare to hand over to a new chair in September.”