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William Hill incoming CFO decides against move amid coronavirus uncertainty

·1-min read
A branded sign is displayed outside a William Hill betting shop in London
A branded sign is displayed outside a William Hill betting shop in London

(Reuters) - Bookmaker William Hill <WMH.L> said on Thursday its incoming finance chief, who was supposed to join from cardboard maker DS Smith <SMDS.L>, has decided to stay on in his current role because of ongoing market uncertainty around the coronavirus crisis.

William Hill announced earlier in February that Adrian Marsh, Finance Director at DS Smith, would join the company later in the year and help steer it through regulatory hurdles in its home market.

"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," Marsh told Reuters.

Ruth Prior, who is currently serving her notice period at William Hill and was also set to make a move to the private equity sector by joining Element Materials Technology, will continue in the CFO role.

Multiple gambling companies, including William Hill, have warned of a big hit to earnings because of unprecedented cancellations of global sports events caused by the coronavirus, hammering shares across the sector.

Bookmakers were already under pressure from rising taxes in major markets and a crackdown in Britain which includes limits on the size of stakes on gaming machines in betting shops, pushing them to venture into the U.S. market where rules have been relaxed.

(Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)