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William Hill : CEO Philip Bowcock to step down, taps digital executive as replacement | MarketScreener

5th September, 07:11

(Reuters) - William Hill Plc said Philip Bowcock will step down as chief executive officer at the end of September after three years at the helm, two months after the gambling company said it would cut about a third of its betting shops and jobs in Britain.

William Hill, which has been hit by a regulatory cap on fixed odds betting terminals in Britain, named Chief Digital Officer Ulrik Bengtsson as CEO designate on Thursday. He will assume full CEO responsibilities from Sept. 30.

William Hill said the change was part of its succession plan and consistent with a strategy of becoming a "digitally led and internationally diverse" gambling company.

Bowcock's predecessor, James Henderson, left the company in 2016 after he failed to deliver enough growth in online and international gambling.

Bowcock joined William Hill in November 2015 as chief financial officer from cinema operator Cineworld Group Plc with no prior experience in the gambling industry.

He has, however, helped William Hill join a group of British betting companies that have been pushing into the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting.

Britain cut the maximum stake allowed to 2 pounds in April after complaints that the machines, which had previously let gamblers bet up to 100 pounds every 20 seconds, were highly addictive and allowed players to rack up big losses. The machines ares dubbed the "crack cocaine" of gambling by their critics.

The change in leadership also comes after William Hill posted lower first-half profit last month, as the regulatory cap and more costs to expand in the U.S. took a toll on the company.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Bernard Orr)