William Hill: interim CEO Philip Bowcock is to continue on an acting basis
PICTURE: David Dew
WILLIAM HILL are yet to appoint a permanent chief executive officer, with interim Philip Bowcock to continue on an acting basis.
News of Bowcock’s promotion was expected to end a difficult eight-month search for a chief executive as the bookmaker announced its full financial results for 2016, but despite the firm announcing improvement online in the first seven weeks of 2017, with UK sportsbook wagering up ten per cent and UK gaming net revenue up eight per cent, there remains no news on a permanent appointment.
The group announced net revenue for 2016 was up one per cent to £1,603.8m, with an adjusted operating profit of £261.5m – which remained in line with revised guidance – and strong cash generation with operating cash flow of £265.9m. However adjusted earnings per share dropped ten per cent to 22.3p.
William Hill has been without a permanent CEO since the removal of James Henderson in July and the Financial Times reports William Hill’s chair Gareth Davis has suggested a decision is near.
He said: “At the outset of the CEO process, we made it clear that we would carry out a thorough search and that it could take some time. I am pleased to say that we are now entering the final stages and expect to complete an announcement in a few weeks’ time.”
Bowcock said: “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. We have delivered extensive product, user experience and marketing improvements in online, modernised our retail management structure to focus more on the customer and continued to grow in our key international markets.
“There are now encouraging signs in all our divisions, in particular online’s UK business, which is now delivering sustained growth.
“Looking forward, we want to keep improving the customer experience. This means making it both fast and easy, as well as enjoyable and personal, to bet with William Hill. To do this, we are expanding our product range, increasing our marketing investment and deploying our technology assets and expertise in key areas.
“At the same time, we expect our transformation programme to continue delivering important efficiency savings that we can reinvest to deliver an even better customer experience and faster growth.
“We have a clear strategy to take the business forward and grow market share in the UK, while expanding our revenues internationally.”
William Hill reported their balance sheet remained healthy with net debt for covenant purposes at 1.8x EBITDA (2015: 1.3x), while full-year dividend maintained at 12.5p per share.
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