Brian Kavanagh will step down as CEO of Horse Racing Ireland in September, and the hunt is already on for a successor. Kavanagh headed the organization during several major milestones, including the country’s updated betting tax framework, the sport’s expansion, and of course, the Covid-19 year.
Other achievements involved expansion of the sport and a rise in the revenue stream with a reported 6.6 percent gain in turnover, according to SBC News.
Changes in tax arrangements and financial recovery contributed to the Irish economy with off-track betting duty receipts amounting to €95 million (US$111.4 million) in 2019.
“It has been a privilege to serve under three different chairmen who each promoted a strategic vision for the Irish horse racing and breeding industries,” Kavanagh said. “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.”
Kavanagh also helmed the sport during the coronavirus pandemic which in 2020 closed doors to fans, and during the U.K. 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.”
Kavanagh served as the first CEO of Horse Racing Ireland in 2001. He helped usher in Irish racing and breeding, lifting the organization to become a world-wide leader, said HRI Chairman Nicky Hartery.