Grant Williams quits Hills ahead of online overhaul

16 November 2018

William Hill online managing director Grant Williams has resigned after the company began a restructure of its digital division ahead of its £240m acquisition of Mr Green owner MRG.

Williams (pictured) has handed in his notice after three years with the company, and having been appointed to his current role at the start of this year.

William Hill has announced Phil Walker as its new UK & Ireland online managing director, with the former Ladbrokes executive to lead the team from Gibraltar, while an international hub is being set up at MRG’s base in Malta.

iGamingBusiness.com understands that the company has begun the process of recruiting its first international online managing director, who will be based in its new Malta hub.

Walker was formerly MD of sports brands at Ladbrokes Coral with responsibility for marketing services across the merged group and joins William Hill from his current role as group COO of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange.

Ulrik Bengtsson, Hills’ chief digital officer, said Williams had improved the company’s online business during his tenure as online managing director and chief operating officer of online.

He added: “Phil comes to William Hill with a strong track record in the industry and will have a clear focus on the UK and Ireland markets moving forward and will be key to achieving our ambitions for digital growth in the coming years.”

In announcing its bid for MRG earlier this month Hills said “the addition of an international hub in Malta and MRG’s operational expertise will further strengthen William Hill’s growth potential”.

At the time Hills’ CEO Philip Bowcock added: “MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries. William Hill will move from a single brand to a suite of brands that can maximise growth opportunities moving forward in new and existing markets.”

Both Hills and MRG expect to publish an official document offer at the beginning of December, with the acceptance period to run from December 10 to January 11, in the hope of completing the deal shortly after. Following the acquisition Hills expects online revenues to climb from 42% of total revenue to around 47%, while the proportion of international revenues will rise from 14% to 21%.

Speaking about his new role, Walker said: “It is great to be back in the industry and with one of the most trusted brands in the sector. William Hill has ambitious growth plans as it transitions from its retail roots to become more international and more digital and I am pleased to be joining the team as it embarks on this journey.”

Meanwhile, on Friday morning Hills confirmed another new appointment to its digital leadership team, with Charlotte Emery becoming the firm’s global brand and marketing director.

Emery, who joins William Hill from British American Tobacco (BAT) after also working in the drinks industry for Bacardi Martini UK, said: "William Hill is a great business with great opportunities ahead of it and I’m looking forward to making my contribution to the long term growth plans the business has embarked on.”