Simon Bazalgette has announced his resignation as group chief executive of the Jockey Club after serving more than a decade as the first-ever occupier of this position at the largest commercial group in British horseracing.
Bazalgette will stand down by the end of 2019 as he transitions into a non-executive career. He has served in the role since September 2008.
The recruitment process to appoint a new group chief executive will be led by representatives of the Jockey Club’s Board of Stewards. They will be advised by the executive search and talent advisory firm, SRI. However, the Jockey Club has said it may look internally for Bazalgette’s replacement.
The announcement comes after the Jockey Club last week reported a 10th consecutive year of commercial growth, but warned of the impact of the government’s crackdown on the betting industry.
Bazalgette said: “The Jockey Club is a fantastic, purpose-led organisation full of talented and experienced people, so this has been a really hard decision for me to make.
“When appointed a little over 10 years ago I agreed to do at least five years before going non-executive, but there’s always been plenty to do and great opportunities that have kept me fully engaged. On the back of our 10th set of record results, and with a great team in place, now seemed the right time to make my transition. I’ll be standing down as group chief executive by the end of the year, but I do hope to stay involved in a non-executive or advisory role.”
Roger Weatherby, senior steward of the Jockey Club, added: “He has played a pivotal role in major achievements for our sport, including revolutionising racing’s media-rights value, vital Levy Reforms, nearly 100 days of free-to-air coverage with a dedicated major broadcaster in ITV; and most importantly the ability for the Jockey Club to make record contributions to prize money and investments in our facilities around the country on the back of strong commercial performance.
“He has assembled a first-class executive team and we will now begin a process to ensure his successor builds on the very robust foundations that Simon has laid. We are keen that the Jockey Club and racing does not lose the significant knowledge and expertise that Simon has, and so we very much hope that he will continue to be involved in some way into the future.”
The Jockey Club stages some of Britain’s most popular events including the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National Festival and Derby Festival.