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William Hill chairman Gareth Davis reveals planned retirement

William Hill Chairman to retire
William Hill Chairman Gareth Davis plans to retire after new CEO is appointed.

Once William Hill appoints a permanent CEO, a new search will commence to replace chairman Gareth Davis.

Davis announced he would be retiring once the UK-based bookmaker found a CEO in the company’s annual report and accounts.

“I would envisage, once an orderly handover has been completed, to be in a position to retire from the Board before the time of the 2018 Annual General Meeting,” Davis said.

“I have discussed this proposed approach with the rest of the board and they unanimously consider that this orderly and structured process is the best way to proceed.”

William Hill was expected to announce the new CEO, with interim boss Philip Bowcock tipped to fulfil the permanent position, when they released its full year results last week.

But no successor to the former chief executive, James Henderson, was appointed.

“With three new non-executive director appointments recently made to the board and the permanent CEO position to fill, any change of the chair must be planned in an orderly manner and with adequate time for induction and familiarisation for a new chair and for any other recent Board appointments.”

Finding a CEO is said to be integral to reviving earnings, following a missed consolidation opportunity.

William Hill tried to seal a transformational deal with Canada’s Amaya last year but when it failed, many speculated Davis would step down.

Davis commented on the deal in the report stating while it failed it was important to explore it “to take a serious look at strategic alternatives for the business.”

“As announced by the Company in October, various exploratory due diligence and other work streams were underway with Amaya but far from complete and the Board maintained oversight over this process,” he said.

“The Board also listened to the views of a number of William Hill’s major shareholders.

“After listening to such views, the Board decided that it would not pursue discussions with Amaya further.”

The report also revealed a three per cent drop in online revenues for FY2016 to £545m, while online operating profits fell 20% to £101m.

Bowcock commented on the results stating “it was a challenging year” but the company has “a clear strategy to take the business forward and grow market share in the UK, while expanding our revenues internationally.”

“Looking forward, we want to keep improving the customer experience,” Bowcock said.

“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.

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