ROA appoints new board members to promote ‘skills-based’ approach

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) has confirmed the appointment of four new board members, one existing member, three by election and one by co-option.

Pursuing a strategy of transitioning to leadership via a ‘skills-based board’ has been a key objective of the ROA, one of ‘a number of recommendations’ made by the current board as part of the organisation’s Corporate Governance review.

The appointments have seen Celia Djivanovic re-elected to her position and Philip Davies MP and former trainer and current owner and breeder Mouse Hamilton-Fairley elected for the first time.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti businessman and long-time owner, Khalid Almudhaf, has been co-opted along with Ken McGarrity, former Group Finance Director and ROA Scottish representative.

Both the co-opted candidates will be subject to member approval at the ROA AGM on 1 September, at which time the appointees will also formally join the board.

“I am thrilled to welcome our Board members. Both our new Board members and Celia’s re-election are indicative of the impetus behind our corporate governance agenda at the ROA,” said Charlie Parker, President of the ROA.

“We are determined to, in line with our Review, drive a more diverse set of people and skills on our Board. Everyone in this cohort, from Group finance directors and MPs, to  International owners and owner-breeders, is bringing a new and fresh perspective to our leadership. 

“With so many challenges to ownership, racing’s participants and racing in its totality, I look forward to working closely with the Board to help the ROA continue to be the voice for all owners, domestic or international based, our members and together deliver for racing’s future.”

The additions to the board have experience in a range of different fields, covering racing, law, politics and business. 

Re-elected Djivanovic, a lifelong racehorse owner, founder the Horse Trust and ROA board members since 2018, commented: “It has been fantastic to co-lead the ROA’s work on corporate governance and the review. 

“Corporate governance is incredibly important to securing the future of our sport and we still have a lot more to do, not just here but across the sport. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me and I look forward to working alongside the new members and rest of the Board and executive on the issues most important to owners.”

Meanwhile, Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, brings considerable political experience to the board, having served as Officer of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Racing and Bloodstock for over 10 years, in addition to spending another 10 years on the DCMS Select Committee.

The MP remarked: “As a lifelong racing fan, this is a sport I know and love. To be involved at this level is a great privilege.

“The members and the board have been so welcoming. I am looking forward to getting stuck in and helping racing and owners both navigate the challenging period ahead but also thrive in the future.”

Lastly, final elected member Hamilton Fairley will take responsibility for ensuring better representation of the ‘small owner’ in horse racing, and has extensive experience of the legal space, having worked with the Hampshire Youth Offending team on referral order panels, prison projects and as a volunteer in restorative justice.

“It is a huge honour to be elected to the ROA board,” she commented. “I will do my very best to represent those smaller racehorse owners, owner-breeders and syndicate members to make sure their voices are heard and listened to better in the future, across all aspects of this sport we love, whether it’s in decision making at the highest level or improving the raceday experience.  In addition, I am keen to ensure more transparency on equine welfare issues.”

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