Wednesday 7. December, 2016

Former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Appointed Racing Australia CEO

In a move that has surprised members of the racing industry, former NSW premier, Barry O’Farrell, has been appointed as the new chief executive for Racing Australia.

O’Farrell will take up the position in late January, 2017, taking over from former federal National MP Peter McGauran who is moving over to Australian wagering operator, Tabcorp. O’Farrell recently chaired a federal governmental review of online gambling in Australia; however, this is the first full time position he will hold since he left politics in 2014 when he quit over a gifted bottle of Grange wine.

“From the industry’s perspective, it’s an interesting, and possibly confusing, appointment,” commented Andrew Nicholl, chief executive of the Australian Trainers’ Association.

“We have no idea about what skills he’s going to bring to the table and what his background is in terms of racing, but from the ATA’s perspective we welcome him and will work with him for the betterment of the industry.”

O’Farrell will have a complex task ahead, having to smooth relations between Racing Australia and industry groups including breeders, trainers and jockeys who have complained about the way that the sport’s national body has treated them.

“Mr O’Farrell has a strong background in public administration and financial management,” said Racing Australia in a statement. “He served with distinction in the NSW parliament for 20 years, including as NSW premier between 2011 and 2014.”

“Over that time, Mr O’Farrell managed complex policy, legal and financial issues with a diverse range of stakeholders.”

“He is an innovative and experienced leader who will bring his demonstrable skills to the organisation.”

O’Farrell has been endorsed by John Messara, outgoing chairman of Racing Australia, who while leaving his position at Racing NSW at the end of the year, will remain as an independent director.

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