The Board of William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH) announces that James Henderson is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. Philip Bowcock, Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed Interim CEO. The search for a permanent replacement has been instigated.
Chairman Gareth Davis commented:
"James's career with William Hill has spanned over 30 years covering the Retail, Online and international businesses. We would like to thank him for his significant contribution and we wish him all the best for the future. Philip has a clear set of priorities as Interim CEO, principally the continued turnaround of the Online business. We will confirm a successor in the coming months."
The Group's trading remains in line with the previous guidance of £260-280m of operating profit in 2016. It will publish its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 28 June 2016 on Friday, 5 August. An interim CFO will be announced in due course.
Statutory and other disclosures
The following disclosure is made in accordance with Section 430 (2B) of the Companies Act 2006.
James Henderson's leaving arrangements will be consistent with the provisions of the Directors' Remuneration Policy. Under the terms of James' service contract, the Company is required to give James 12 months' notice and this started on 21 July 2016 (the 'notice period'). For transition purposes, James will remain an employee for four weeks from the start of the notice period. Following this the Company will pay base salary, employer pension contributions and the cost of benefits in monthly instalments for up to the remaining balance of the notice period. Principles of mitigation shall be applied where it is appropriate to do so. Monthly payments in lieu of notice shall be reduced by 100% of the amount of any salary or fee that James is entitled to receive from any alternative employment or consultancy undertaken during the notice period.
In respect of the annual performance bonus plan for 2016, James participated in the annual bonus plan as described in the Directors' Remuneration Report which appears in the Company's 2015 Annual Report & Accounts. In accordance with the Company's Remuneration Policy, there is no entitlement to payment of a 2016 bonus following notice of termination.
James participates in the Executive Bonus Matching Scheme (EBMS). In 2015 he was awarded 77,754 deferred bonus shares (the EBMS Award) in respect of an annual bonus earnt in the 2014 financial year. The EBMS Award is due to vest in March 2018 and is not subject to any further performance conditions. As the EBMS Award is based on performance previously delivered and in part prior to James being appointed a Director of William Hill PLC, following consideration, the Remuneration Committee has agreed that the EBMS Award shall not lapse and the EBMS Award shall be released in March 2018 under its normal vesting cycle.
All other unvested long-term incentive awards (including any unvested Save as You Earn Sharesave awards) will lapse in accordance with the rules of the respective schemes.
To reflect his additional responsibilities during the interim period, Philip Bowcock's remuneration and benefits will be aligned to match those received by James Henderson prior to James stepping down as CEO.
William Hill PLC
Gareth Davis, Chairman
Lyndsay Wright, Director of IR
Ciaran O'Brien, Director of Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8918 3600
Andrew Porter / Oliver Hughes
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959
About William Hill PLC
William Hill, The Home of Betting, is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing around 16,000 people. Founded in 1934, it is the UK's largest bookmaker with around 2,370 licensed betting offices that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events, gaming on machines and numbers-based products including lotteries. The Group's Online business (www.williamhill.com) is one of the world's leading online betting and gaming businesses, providing customers with the opportunity to access William Hill's products online, through their smart devices and by telephone. William Hill US was established in June 2012. It provides land-based and mobile sports betting services in Nevada and is the exclusive risk manager for the State of Delaware's sports lottery. William Hill Australia is one of the largest online betting businesses in Australia, established through the acquisition of two businesses in 2013. It offers sports betting products online, by telephone and via mobile devices. William Hill PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Group generated revenues of c£1.6bn in 2015.
About Philip Bowcock
Philip joined William Hill in November 2015 as Chief Financial Officer. He has a long track record in the leisure industry and a strong commercial background in multi-site international businesses. He was previously CFO of Cineworld Group Plc from 2011 to 2015, Finance Director at Luminar Group Holdings PLC and held senior financial roles at Barratt Developments PLC, Tesco PLC and Hilton Group plc. He qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant in 1996.
Note: This announcement contains inside information which is disclosed in accordance with the Market Abuse Regulation which came into effect on 3 July 2016.