William Hill Appoint Ulrik Bengtsson as New CEO to Effort to Become ‘Digitally Led’

In an effort to improve their performance in the digital markets William Hill have appointed a new CEO following disappointing first half of year accounts.

UK Gambling firm William Hill recently announced its current chief executive Philip Bowcock will be leaving to be replaced by the company’s chief digital officer, Ulrik Bengtsson.

In a bid to increase the performance of the business in the digital arena, Bengtsson appointment comes as the company looks to re-align its strategy. Bengtsson will take over on 30 September as CEO despite only joining William Hill in April 2018, 18 months ago. He previously ran Betsson, a prominent Swedish online gaming company. Reports suggest that while Bowcock is leaving, he will remain at William Hill until the end of 2019 to assist with the transition. William Hill were quoted as saying the move was part of their “strategy of becoming a digitally led and internationally diverse gambling company.”

Its recent performance has been cause for alarm in a buoyant market with the reports of a loss of £64m in the first half of the year including a fall in profits within the online division, which makes up nearly half of revenues.

The company had recently followed other betting companies into the US following the reversal of a decades-old ban on sports betting last year. William Hill’s high street stores took a worse hit than rivals from curbs on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which reportedly cost the firm nearly £1bn.

As William Hill’s new CEO Bengtsson will receive an annual salary of £600,000, which is the same as Bowcock, along with benefits, an annual bonus and long-term share bonuses. The only notable difference is that Bengtsson will only receive a pension allowance of 5% of salary, which is 15% less than his predecessor Bowcock, who received 20% pension allowance as part of his package.

Full details of Bowcock’s payoff are slated to be released at a later date. Bowcock departs having joined William Hill as CFO in November 2015 was promoted to CEO in March 2017 following a spell as interim chief executive from mid-2016.

Roger Devlin, chairman of William Hill, said: “Having overseen the group’s digital operations for 18 months, [Bengtsson] 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.”

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