Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is looking for a new CEO as current incumbent Brian Kavanagh has announced he will be vacating the position in September this year.
As CEO of the governing body responsible for horse racing in Ireland, Kavanagh oversaw several major milestones and challenges during his tenure, including the implementation of the country’s updated betting tax framework, closely mirroring the POC system introduced in the UK in December 2014.
His additional achievements include the continual expansion of the sport and uptake in its overall revenue stream, with the HRI reporting a 6.6% increase in turnover, a vital turning point for Irish horse racing, which had seen a 75% drop over the previous ten years.
The changes in tax arrangements and the financial recovery made a significant contribution to the Irish economy, with off-course betting duty receipts collected by the government amounting to €95 million in 2019.
“It has been a privilege to serve as Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland and to work under three different Chairmen who each promoted a strategic vision for the Irish horse racing and breeding industries,” Kavanagh remarked.
“It is a sector full of variety and of really talented people and I have nothing but good memories of the projects and people that I have dealt with on the way.”
Furthermore, Kavanagh led Irish horse racing through the turbulent year of 2020, facing hurdles in the form of the coronavirus pandemic – which forced the country’s racetracks to close their doors to spectators – as well as the political ramifications of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“Last week was a good week for racing, but we cannot rest on our laurels and there is much work to do between now and September,” Kavanagh continued.
“While Brexit and COVID-19 are currently providing significant challenges, there are wonderful opportunities facing the sector also. Our horses and our people are our greatest strength.”
An agreement signed between the HRI and Irish broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) assisted with the sports comeback from the COVID-19, providing a significant boost to its television coverage and overall viewership.
Nicky Hartery, Chairman of the HRI, commented: “I would like to thank Brian Kavanagh for 20 years of incredible service and deep commitment to Horse Racing Ireland and to the industry in Ireland.
“Brian was the first CEO of Horse Racing Ireland when appointed in 2001, and during his time he has played a huge role in Irish racing and breeding, enabling it to become a leader on the global stage while domestically overseeing the growth of a vital rural-based industry.
“His knowledge and expertise, at home and abroad, will no doubt ensure that Brian will continue to play a significant part in the industry, and we wish him well.”
The HRI will commence its recruitment drive on 26 March, with applications accepted from this date onwards until 19 April.