Atholl Duncan to take over as Interim BHA Chairman

13 Sep 2018 BHA Features Financial/Political

Atholl Duncan, the current Senior Independent Director of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Board, has been appointed to take over as Interim BHA Chairman after Steve Harman steps down from the role on 12 November.

Atholl Duncan

Atholl’s appointment was recommended by the BHA’s Nominations Committee, which reports to the BHA Board and contains representatives of the BHA’s members – the Racecourse Association (RCA), and the Racehorse Owners Association, Licensed Personnel and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

An experienced non-executive director in sports organisations, Atholl was a senior executive at the BBC for many years. He spent four years as Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water and since 2011 was Executive Director of ICAS, the professional body of Chartered Accountants. Atholl joined the BHA Board in December 2014.

Atholl was also a non-executive director of Sportscotland for nine years, sat on the Scottish Sports Council Trust and the Hibernian Football Club Community Foundation. He has been a regular racegoer for nearly 40 years; is a Trustee of the Caledonian Racing Society; has been an owner in several syndicates; and has horses in training with Lucinda Russell.

The appointment is on an ongoing basis with no fixed term while the BHA and its members continue constructive discussion regarding the makeup of the BHA Board and the remit of the Chairman.

The BHA Board is meeting for the final time with Steve Harman as chairman in late September, before he formally leaves the post on 12 November.

Atholl Duncan said:

“It is a great honour for me to be appointed as Chair of the BHA. My immediate focus will be to continue to work closely with everyone across horseracing to shape the right improvements we need to meet the many challenges facing our sport.

“I also look forward to supporting and constructively challenging the BHA Executive and the highly dedicated teams across the country who we rely on every day to ensure the smooth running, integrity and welfare of Racing.”


  1. The Nominations Committee

The Nominations Committee meets on an ad hoc basis to make recommendations to the Board on suitable candidates for appointment to the Board and the role of Chief Executive.

The Nominations Committee reports to the BHA Board. The members are as follows:

  • BHA Chairman
  • BHA Senior Independent Director
  • Maggie Carver – RCA
  • Nicholas Cooper – Horsemen’s Group, appointed by horsemen

In the case of the appointment of Atholl Duncan, the Chairman and Senior Independent Director recused themselves for the purposes of considering the appointment of the interim chair. Noel Harwerth and Laura Whyte were appointed by the BHA to take their place.

  1. More information about the BHA’s Board and Executive can be found here:
  2. More information about the BHA’s Committees can be found here: