William Hill’s incoming Chief Finance Officer has made a sudden u-turn informing its new employer that he has decided to keep his current CFO role at international packaging company DS Smith due to ongoing market uncertainty stemming from the global coronavirus crisis.
The British bookmaker announced in February that it has appointed Adrian Marsh as its new CFO. Mr. Marsh was supposed to replace Ruth Prior, who said in January that she would step down as CFO and Director of William Hill to return to the private equity sector.
Following news about Ms. Prior’s departure, the gambling operator said that it commenced a search for her successor and would announce Ms. Prior’s departure date in due course.
As for Mr. Marsh, he joined his current employer in September 2013 and has been serving as DS Smith’s group CFO for the past six and a half years. In June 2019, he joined multinational energy services company John Wood Group as Audit Chair.
Of his decision to stay with DS Smith, Mr. Marsh said:
A few months ago it seemed like a good time to move on to a new challenge. However, these are very strange times and my loyalties are to my colleagues and stakeholders in DS Smith.
William Hill said that Ms. Prior will continue in the CFO role for the time being.
Covid-19 Crisis Hits William Hill’s Earnings
Last week, William Hill announced that it has decided to suspend dividend in light of the dynamic situation created by the global coronavirus emergency. The company also warned investors that the unfolding situation would have material impact on full-year revenue and core earnings.
The legacy bookmaker said that while it was too early to accurately determine the effect of the Covid-19 crisis, it has considered several scenarios that might occur in the coming months.
The coronavirus outbreak and the rapid spread of the highly contagious virus has brought gambling stocks to record lows and has wreaked unseen havoc in the sector.
William Hill said earlier this month that it expected full-year group EBITDA to slump by £100-110 million if UK and international football resumes in August, the UEFA Euro 2020 is postponed until next year, UK retail betting shops remain closed for a month, US sports resume in time for the new NFL season, and the Grand National and Royal Ascot are canceled.
William Hill’s estimates did not include the cancellation/postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee this week announced that the Games must now “be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
The postponement of one of the biggest sporting events in the world would bring more losses to William Hill and other sports betting operators.