The Chief Executive Officer for British land-based and online bookmaker William Hill has stepped down after less than two years at the helm due in large part to his failure to revive the business’ struggling virtual offering.
According to The Daily Telegraph newspaper, James Henderson has left to be replaced on a temporary basis by Philip Bowcock, the former Chief Financial Officer for the London-based sportsbetting giant.
Henderson became boss of the nation’s biggest bookmaker in August of 2014 but the newspaper reported that his tenure was marred by a series of profit warnings and an exodus of senior staff, particularly in its troubled online division. This led to a lowering of investor confidence, which was not helped in May when the firm reported an 11% slump in net revenues alongside a 2% drop in amounts wagered from its digital arm for the 17 weeks to the end of April.
“James’s career with William Hill has spanned over 30 years covering the retail, online and international businesses,” read a statement from Gareth Davis, Chairman for William Hill, which was established in 1934 and currently operates over 2,370 licensed betting shops in the United Kingdom. “We would like to thank him for his significant contribution and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Henderson started his William Hill career as a trainee shop manager in 1986 and had been due to deliver the firm’s half-year results on August 5. The company reassured investors that it remained on course to meet its guidance target of $342.7 million to $369.1 million in annual operating profits for the previous twelve months.
“He’s taken the business forward in a number of areas however significant challenges remain and in the recent past online has not performed against our high expectations,” Davis told The Daily Telegraph. “Things are improving but we’ve still got a lot to do. Gambling businesses are increasingly judged on their online capability and performance. It is a very competitive industry now and we started to lose some ground last year.”
The Daily Telegraph revealed that Henry Birch, Chief Executive Officer for Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos-owner Rank Group, alongside Patrick Kennedy, former Chief Executive Officer for Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, are being tipped to succeed Henderson ahead of interim boss Bowcock.
“Philip has a clear set of priorities as Interim Chief Executive Officer, principally the continued turnaround of the online business,” read the statement from Davis. “We will confirm a successor in the coming months.”