People News

William Hill’s nine month search for a new chief executive has ended with the decision to hand the role to interim CEO Philip Bowcock on a permanent basis.

Bowcock has served as the London-listed gaming operator’s chief financial officer since November 2015, stepping in as interim chief executive in July 2016 following the departure of James Henderson.

Since then the company has conducted an extensive search for a new CEO, with a number of experienced industry executives who were approached for the role said to have turned it down.

Bowcock assumes the role with immediate effect on a base salary of £600,000 per year plus benefits.

William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said of the appointment: “Since his appointment as Interim CEO last July, Philip has driven the business forward at real pace and we have seen important progress across our Online, Retail and international businesses over that time.

“Our recent results show that William Hill is now in a stronger position and Philip has outlined a clear plan to continue that momentum into the future.”

The company posted annual revenue of £1.6bn for 2016, a 1 per cent increase year-on-year, although it recorded its first fall in Online revenue in ten years with a 3 per cent decline to £544.8m.

Bowcock acknowledged at the time that "2016 was a challenging year for William Hill, but one in which we made considerable operational progress, leaving us well-placed to drive the business forward in 2017”.

To improve the performance of the business, Bowcock has set out a number of strategic priorities, namely to grow UK market share, drive continued international revenue growth, and to deliver two key projects to support growth and reinvestment.

Commenting on his new role, Bowcock said: “I am proud to be chosen to lead William Hill, a business that millions of customers trust and a brand that is synonymous with betting. During my time at the helm, I have had the opportunity to lead a passionate, talented and committed team and we have made considerable operational progress in recent months. The team and I are excited by the opportunity to keep improving our position in all our key markets whilst delivering a great experience for our customers.”

Shares in William Hill plc. (Co. Data) (LSE:WMH) were trading up 0.15 per cent at 270.00 pence per share in London early Friday morning.