William Hill CEO to forgo pay rise and bonuses

William Hill has announced several measures to help offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yesterday, William Hill announced remuneration packages for CEO Ulrik Bengtsson and the new CFO Matt Ashley, with Bengtsson forgoing a pay increase and contractual bonus as the gambling company deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

This news comes as the bookmaker predicted the pandemic would lead to a significant decline in the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of between £100m and £110m in 2020.

CEO Remuneration package

According to the announcement, Bengtsson will receive a salary of £600,000 for the year, while his annual salary increase will be suspended to offset the impact of the coronavirus on the company. On top of this, £30,000 will be put towards a pension for Bengtsson.

The bookmaker also chose to lower its maximum pension contribution rate for executive directors from 20% down to 5% in order to bring it in line with the contribution rate for the general workforce.

William Hill’s annual bonus and long-term incentive plan schemes were cancelled for all executive staff and senior employees. For the CEO, the annual bonus can be worth up to 150% of salary while the long-term incentive plan is worth up 200% of the salary.

CFO Remuneration Package

Meanwhile, Ashley received an annual salary of £450,000 which was prorated for the time he worked for the operator in 2020. Ashley took on the role of CFO and joined the William Hill executive board on 6 April. Ashley will also receive a pension contribution of 5% of salary while his bonus and incentive plans have been cancelled.

William Hill also said that share awards forfeited as a result of Ashley’s resignation from National Express will be compensated on a like for like basis. Ashley will also be required to hold at least 200% of salary in shares.

In its announcement, the operator said: “We believe Matt’s appointment is important in providing stability for our business in the face of the current challenges and will serve our shareholders well.  We have received comments from a number of our leading shareholders welcoming Matt’s appointment, along with the timely manner in which it was made.”

The remuneration packages for the bookmaker’s executive staff will still need to be approved at William Hill’s annual general meeting on 15 May 2020.

William Hill also acknowledged the impact that its retail store closures have had on employees across the country and said that it “decided to top-up the wages of furloughed colleagues to 100% of normal salary levels for the time being.”

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