Allen takes top role at New Zealand Racing Board

Allen takes top role at New Zealand Racing Board

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has appointed John Allen as its new chief executive.

Allen, current chief executive at the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Travel, will join the body that regulates all racing and sports betting in the country in March 2015.

Formerly the chief executive of New Zealand Post and originally a commercial lawyer, Allen will replace acting chief executive Stewart McRobie, who remains the organisation’s chief financial officer.

McRobie took on the interim role when Chris Bayliss resigned for “personal and family” reasons in June 2014 after less than two years in the job.

“It’s going to be fun. A fresh opportunity has presented itself and I think the time is right to purse this new challenge,” Allen said.

“The NZ Racing Board is a NZ$2bn (€1.3bn/$1.6bn) business that plays a vital role in the New Zealand economy by supporting the racing and sports industries. It is also the owner and operator of the TAB which is an exciting commercial enterprise and iconic New Zealand brand.”

NZRB recorded turnover of NZ$2.088 billion and net profit of $137 million in 2013/14. From this, NZ$137.4 was paid to bodies in charge of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing, while NZ$5 million was distributed to the National Sporting Organisations and a record NZ$2.3 million to other sports.

The body has more than 148,000 TAB account-holders and a retail network comprising more than 640 outlets. It supports betting on more than 69,000 domestic and imported thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races each season.

NZRB chairwoman Glenda Hughes said Allen was an “outstanding appointment for the organisation and indeed the wider racing and sports industries”.

Hughes added: “We are delighted to be able to appoint someone of John’s calibre and experience to this position. Our industry is facing a number of challenges, however the opportunities are also vast.

“Throughout the recruitment process we have been seeking a proven strategic leader and business growth agent with international negotiation skills. The last point is a consideration as we enter into negotiations for our international wagering and broadcasting rights agreements.”

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