- William Hill replaces Bowcock as CEO
- Chief of digital Ulrik Bengtsson takes the job on September 30
- The company will be focusing on digital expansion moving forward
William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock has announced his retirement from the post, giving way to Ulrik Bengtsson, the current head of digital within the company.
Bowcock Steps Down as CEO for William Hill
William Hill, one of the largest British sportsbooks in the United Kingdom, announced the stepping down of its CEO, Philip Bowcock. Mr. Bowcock has been one of the most active CEOs the company has had in the past several years. The announcement comes on the footsteps of a company decision to close as many as 700 betting shops.
The shut down is a direct result from the newly adopted betting limits for fixed-odds betting terminals or FOBTs, with the maximum allowable bet reduced to £2 since 2019. As a result, William Hill will promote Ulrik Bengtsson to Mr. Bowcock’s position, effective September 30.
Traditionalists Give Way to Innovation
Withdrawing from the company, Mr. Bowcock admitted that the gaming business has been faced with numerous changes in legislation that have completely changed the landscape. Responsible for digital innovation, Mr. Bengtsson seems capable of pushing the company in the direction it needs to survive, adapt and expand.
Here’s what Mr. Bowcock said:
After all the work the team has done, I believe the business is now well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the US market, as well as continued growth in digital.
William Hill has been among the companies to warn lawmakers that their decision would affect jobs and cause structural reforms across the industry. Those reforms would claim jobs, William Hill explained on several occasions, discussing FOBTs betting limits.
Yet, William Hill has remained a company that embraces change, adapts to it, and even spearheads it. With 700 betting shops now closing down, however, as many as 4,500 people may lose their jobs. William Hill has promised to re-train staff where possible.
Mr. Bowcock’s successor will be faced with a difficult task indeed. Yet, he will share the same salary as his predecessor, i.e. £600,000 a year. However, Mr. Bengtsson will only have 5% of his salary contributed to a retirement plan whereas Mr. Bowcock had 20%.
Speaking of C-level executives in the gaming business, Denise Coates of Bet365, paid herself £265 million in 2017, making her the highest-paid female executive in the world.
Focusing on U.S. Expansion
Moving forward, the William Hill will have to navigate an overly-demanding market at home, but also probe new opportunities in the United States. The United States has promised to be one of the most profitable for the company.
The change of leadership has been seen as an apt move by big media outlets like The Financial Times’ staff writer Cat Rutter Pooley who agreed that giving the reins to someone focused on digital growth could be the best move for the company moving forward.