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Ulrik Bengtsson has formally announced his departure as the chief executive of William Hill as the company prepares to be acquired by 888.

Bengtsson spent almost three years in the top job at Hills after initially joining the UK bookmaker in April 2018 as chief digital officer.

He became CEO in September 2019, where he oversaw the formation of William Hill International due to the firm’s acquisition of Nordic online casino operator Mr Green.

Bengtsson was also responsible for driving William Hill’s digital strategy as the business diversified outside of retail and into omni-channel and online gambling in the UK.

Prior to William Hill, Bengtsson spent five years as the chief executive of Malta-based Betsson Group. He is well known throughout the iGaming industry as a result.

“With the on-sale to 888 due to be completed later next week, the time is right for me to say goodbye to William Hill and to hand over to Itai Pazner, CEO of 888,” said Bengtsson.

“I look back over the last four years with pride at what we’ve achieved, which has brought us to this point where 888 sees the massive benefit of acquiring William Hill and the opportunities it will open up for both businesses.

“With the acquisition of Mr Green in early 2019, we created William Hill International and later that year, I was proud to take on the CEO role and lead the business to the great place it is today.

“888 has acquired a brilliant business with two premium brands in William Hill and Mr Green and I look forward to seeing how the combined business grows over the coming years,” he added.

Ulrik Bengtsson: “With the on-sale to 888 due to be completed later next week, the time is right for me to say goodbye to William Hill and to hand over to Itai Pazner.”

William Hill employees were informed internally about Bengtsson’s exit this week. He was initially expected to leave later this year once the sale of Hills to 888 had been finalised.

That sale is now expected to complete on 1 July. London-listed 888 has agreed to pay Caesars Entertainment somewhere in the region of £2bn for William Hill’s non-US assets, which includes the UK-facing business and shops and the Mr Green brand in Europe.

Earlier this week, 888 agreed to enter debt of £1.76bn to help fund the purchase.

888 CEO Itai Pazner, who will continue to lead the combined business, said: “Ulrik can rightly be very proud of building such a strong team, and we look forward to combining the businesses.

“I am excited about the opportunities for the enlarged business, supported by top-quality management talent from both businesses,” he added.

For now, Bengtsson will continue in his role as non-executive chairman of Stockholm-listed affiliate Raketech, where he is also chair of the remuneration committee.

The Swede is also set to give a keynote address at iGaming NEXT Valletta ’22 in September.

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