William Hill Prolongs Seven-Month Search for New Chief

  • Finance director has been standing in since previous CEO left
  • U.K. bookmaker faces challenge of struggling online business

U.K. bookmaker William Hill Plc’s protracted search for a permanent successor to ousted Chief Executive Officer James Henderson will extend beyond Friday’s full-year earnings announcement, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The seven-month process is nearing a conclusion, though an appointment hasn’t been made, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. The Financial Times reported Feb. 22 that the company was set to give the job to Philip Bowcock, the finance director who has been standing in as CEO since Henderson left.

A William Hill spokesman declined to comment.

The hunt for a new CEO is being overseen by Chairman Gareth Davis, who has previously said the process could take a year or longer.

The continuation of the search will add to uncertainty after a tough 12 months during which the bookmaker foiled a planned takeover by a group of rivals and held unsuccessful merger talks with Canada’s Amaya Inc. A new CEO will face a number of immediate challenges, including reviving the company’s struggling online business and a government review of gambling machines in betting shops, the outcome of which is due in coming months.

William Hill said in January that earnings were hurt by a bad run of soccer and horse-racing results over Christmas. Operating profit for the year was about 260 million pounds ($324 million), at the bottom end of the guided 260 million pounds to 280 million pounds, it said at the time.

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