Nick Rust has been appointed Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the sport’s governing and regulatory body. He will join BHA from Ladbrokes PLC, where he is currently Managing Director, Retail. The appointment has been made by the BHA Board, following a thorough search and a recommendation by BHA’s Nominations Committee. He is expected to join BHA in the first quarter of 2015.
BHA Chairman Steve Harman said:
“We are delighted to have appointed Nick. The quality of candidates was amongst the highest I have ever seen for any CEO position, with a range of senior leaders from the UK business, consumer and leisure industries. Nick impressed us all the way through the process.
“He has been an avid Racing fan since childhood, has an impressive track record in his business life, and a great understanding of the opportunities for the sport. Those that know Nick know that he has a natural and collaborative leadership style with staff and stakeholders alike, a good blend of humility and desire to get things done. He is comfortable from ‘stable to boardroom’ and understands how pivotal this sport is to jobs and UK PLC.
“He understands the priorities and opportunities well and I know that he will build on the platform developed by Paul Bittar and the BHA team, and be a highly effective and popular leader.”
Rust, 47, has 27 years of experience in the betting and gaming industry, and in his current role has oversight of around 2,500 betting shops and 13,000 staff. He rejoined Ladbrokes in 2011, having started at the firm as a cashier in 1987, and held roles at BskyB between 2002 and 2007, including as Managing Director of SkyBet, and at Gala Coral from 2007 to 2010, including as Managing Director, Remote Gambling and Coral Retail. He has extensive experience in industry and corporate affairs, having managed key relationships with Government and regulators, and has excellent relationships across British Racing.
He has been an owner since 2005, and currently has four horses in training with Micky Hammond in Middleham, North Yorkshire, for whose training business he has also served as a Director.
Speaking of his appointment, Rust said:
“Given my lifelong passion for British Racing, I am thrilled and honoured to be taking up the role of Chief Executive at BHA.
“Racing is a huge sport, and critical to many areas of the economy. It has many exciting opportunities ahead and I know that the Racing industry can grasp these. I look forward to working with the new Board, and the wider team, as well as our many stakeholders, to build on what has already been achieved across Racing and by Paul and his team.”
BHA’s Nominations Committee is comprised of Steve Harman, Ian Barlow, Chairman of the Racecourse Association (RCA), and Rachel Hood, Racehorse Owners Association President.
Ian Barlow said:
“I welcome Nick’s appointment and we at the RCA look forward to working with him to build on Racing’s firm base. He brings with him impressive experience and knowledge of our sport. In collaboration with the Horsemen’s Group and ourselves and supported by our respective boards we can work closely together to grasp the many opportunities for growth in our sport. Nick will be a crucial leader in that enterprise.”
Rachel Hood said:
“The appointment process for the new BHA CEO has been very thorough and meticulous, culminating I believe, in the collaborative appointment of an outstanding and professional candidate who will serve the Horseracing industry with commitment, understanding and vision.
“Nick is a longtime racehorse owner, with a track record of investment and involvement in a racing stable, and a passion for Horseracing itself. His hugely successful career in the betting industry brings with it a profound understanding of so many issues facing the future growth of our sport. The Horsemen’s Group expects its members to be well-served by Nick’s appointment, which we welcome along with our colleagues at the RCA and the Chairman of the BHA.”