(Adds details, background, shares)
March 10 (Reuters) - British bookmaker William Hill Plc promoted interim Chief Executive Philip Bowcock to its top job on Friday, ending an over seven-month-long search for a permanent CEO.
The betting chain has not had a permanent chief executive since James Henderson’s departure in July after he failed to deliver enough growth in online and international gambling.
William Hill shares were up 1.5 percent at 273.7 pence.
The company said last month it expected to improve its performance this year following a 10 percent decline in 2016 operating profit.
Bowcock joined William Hill in November 2015 as chief financial officer from cinema operator Cineworld Group Plc with no prior experience in the gambling industry.
“Since his appointment as Interim CEO last July, Philip has driven the business forward at real pace and we have seen important progress across our Online, Retail and international businesses over that time,” William Hill Chairman Gareth Davis said in a statement.
The London-based bookmaker has missed out on a consolidation spree in the gambling sector in recent years, even as rivals have expanded through mergers.
It abandoned merger talks with Canada’s Amaya Inc in October after opposition from a leading investor.
A month before that, casino and bingo hall operator Rank Group Plc and online betting firm 888 ended efforts to buy William Hill after it rejected a revised offer.
Meanwhile, Ladbrokes merged with Gala Coral in November. Paddy Power and Betfair joined forces in 2015.
As chief executive, Bowcock will receive a 9 percent increase in his annual salary to 600,000 pounds ($729,480), William Hill said. ($1 = 0.8225 pounds) (Reporting by Tenzin Pema and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair and Sai Sachin Ravikumar)