The departure of James Henderson as CEO of William Hill comes as the company tries to overcome difficulties in its online division.
Henderson took over as chief executive in 2014 just as a number of tax and regulatory changes were about break over William Hill, not least the UK’s point of consumption tax for online gambling. The results to date suggest he wasn’t able to develop a strategy to combat them. There were also no major acquisitions or mergers to keep pace with the company’s rivals, despite discussions with 888 Holdings. William Hill did, however, invest in NYX Gaming to help fund the acquisition of Openbet in 2016.
Certainly in 2016 it has been the online division that has caused issues for William Hill, particularly around the self-exclusions, which were part of the reason given for a profit warning in March 2016.
It didn’t help that the profit warning came just a month after the final results for 2015 were announced, when no indication of the rate of self-exclusions was given but the CEO said “we have made further good progress on measures to encourage responsible gambling” and that “the Board is confident in the outlook for the year ahead”.
The company’s share price is down 24% over the last twelve months but showed good gains on the day Henderson’s departure was announced. GBGC’s analysis shows the financial trend in William Hill Online. Both top line revenues and operating profit have been growing, up until 2015 at least, but the conversion rate of revenue to operating profit has been declining.