The Board of William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH) announces that Philip Bowcock will step down as Chief Executive Officer and as a Director of the Company with effect from 30th September 2019.
Ulrik Bengtsson, previously William Hill’s Chief Digital Officer, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer Designate and a Director of the Company with immediate effect. He will assume full CEO responsibilities from 30th September. In order to assist with the transition, Philip will continue as an employee of the Company until 31st December 2019. This change is part of William Hill’s succession planning and consistent with the Group’s strategy of becoming a digitally led and internationally diverse gambling company.
Ulrik joined William Hill in April 2018 and was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Betsson AB, a gaming company listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm Large Cap list.
Roger Devlin, Chairman of William Hill, said: “I would like to thank Philip for his important contribution to William Hill over the last four years, both as CFO and for three years as CEO. During that time, Philip has built a great team, with real depth and a strong culture and overall the business is in good shape. He has led the business through a period of unprecedented change including the challenges of the Triennial Review and has set a clear strategy, driven our expansion in the US and reinvented our approach to safer gambling.
“The Board is pleased to appoint Ulrik to the role. Having overseen the Group’s digital operations for 18 months, he knows the business well and is ideally suited to lead our next phase of growth. Ulrik has deep understanding in digital and has the international and sector experience we need to deliver on our strategy. His appointment will provide continuity, stability and operational digital leadership as we deliver on the strategy we have set.”
Ulrik Bengtsson said: “I am delighted to be taking on the CEO role at such an exciting time for William Hill and look forward to working with the team to deliver our strategy. We have a great opportunity to build William Hill as a digital and international business by driving Online growth in the UK and internationally, growing a scale US business, remodelling Retail and delivering our Nobody Harmed ambition.”
Philip Bowcock said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at William Hill. It has been an intense period with the industry and business experiencing significant structural and regulatory change. After all the work the team has done I believe the business is now well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the US market as well as continued growth in digital. Having recruited and worked with Ulrik for the last year and a half, I am confident he will take advantage of the opportunities ahead and we will see William Hill go from strength to strength.”
Full details of Philip’s leaving arrangements in respect of fixed pay, annual bonus and the treatment of share awards which are consistent with his current service contract and the Company’s shareholder approved Remuneration Policy, will be disclosed on the Group’s corporate website (www.williamhillplc.com) in line with Section 430(2B) of the Companies Act in due course. The remuneration package for Ulrik, which is consistent with the Remuneration Policy, is summarised below and will be disclosed in detail in the next Directors’ Remuneration Report.
5 September 2019
This announcement includes inside information as defined in Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation No. 596/2014.
The person responsible for arranging the release of this announcement on behalf of William Hill PLC is Balbir Kelly-Bisla, Company Secretary.
William Hill PLC
Roger Devlin, Chairman
Louise Turner-Smith, Director of IR
Ciaran O’Brien, Director of Corporate Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7612 3000
Andrew Porter / Ruan Tremayne
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959
Philip Bowcock joined William Hill as CFO in November 2015 and was appointed interim CEO in July 2016 and then CEO in March 2017.
A summary of the remuneration arrangements for Ulrik upon appointment as CEO is provided below for information.
Ulrik will receive a base salary of £600,000 per annum with effect from his appointment as CEO Designate (and as CEO thereafter). This is in line with the salary received by Philip Bowcock. Benefits, pension allowance and participation in the annual bonus plan and in long-term incentive awards will all be in accordance with the Company's Remuneration Policy. In line with our commitment in the 2018 Directors’ Remuneration Report to align pension provision for new director hires to the general workforce, Ulrik will receive a pension allowance of 5% per annum from his appointment to the Board, reduced from the 20% per annum pension allowance that Philip received. No additional remuneration or awards have been made in connection with Ulrik’s appointment. Full details will be provided in the Company's 2019 Directors’ Remuneration Report.
This announcement is made pursuant to LR 9.6.11 of the UK Listing Authority's Listing Rules (the UK Listing Rules). There are no further details to be disclosed in respect of Ulrik Bengtsson under LR 9.6.13R of the UK Listing Rules.
With effect from 5th September 2019, the composition of the Board of William Hill PLC will be as follows:
With effect from 30th September 2019, the composition of the Board of William Hill PLC will be as follows:
William Hill PLC is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing c16,000 people. Its origins are in the UK where it was founded in 1934, and where it is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The majority of its £1.6bn annual revenues are still derived from the UK, where it has a national presence of licensed betting offices and one of the leading online betting and gaming services. In 2012, it established William Hill US with a focus on retail and mobile operations in Nevada and became the largest sports betting business in the US. Following the ruling in May 2018 by the Supreme Court that the federal ban on state sponsored sports betting was unconstitutional, William Hill US has expanded and continues to expand as new states regulate sports betting. It is now operating in eight states: Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. William Hill’s Online business is headquartered in Gibraltar and Malta, and is licensed online in 10 countries following the acquisition of Mr Green & Co AB in January 2019.