BHA confirms start date of new Chief Executive and appointment of Member Nominee Director from the RCA

18 Dec 2014 Financial/Political

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) today announces that new Chief Executive Nick Rust will start with the organisation on Monday 12 January 2015. Rust, 47, is to leave Ladbrokes PLC, where he is currently Managing Director, Retail, at the end of the year.

Current Chief Executive Paul Bittar will leave BHA on Monday 19 January 2015, thereby ensuring a smooth transition to his successor.

BHA also today confirms the appointment of David Thorpe, Chairman of Arena Racing Company, the Member Nominee Director from the Racecourse Association (RCA) for a 12 month term, to help the transition to the new BHA Board. This appointment comes in addition to the six new Non-Executive Directors announced earlier this month.

The Member Nominee Director from the Racehorse Owners Association, Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Licensed Personnel, also for a similar term, will follow in January 2015.

BHA Chairman Steve Harman said:

“I am delighted that Nick Rust is able to join us early in the New Year. I know he will do a great job.

“We are also very pleased that David Thorpe is joining the Board for this transition period for BHA, and the sport. Since I started working with David earlier this year, I always felt he would make a great Board member. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and possesses skills very relevant to the future strategy for Racing.

“Upon the nominee from our horsemen members being confirmed, the appointments will complete the establishment of a Board which has a broad and deep set of skills needed for Racing’s future, coupled with strong knowledge of the sport, passion, humility and approachability.”

David Thorpe said:

“I am delighted to have been nominated by the RCA Board to join the BHA Board during this period of transition. As both an owner and a breeder of racehorses, along with my previous experience of the BHB and racecourse management, I look forward to playing an active and constructive role on the Board during my tenure.”


David Thorpe was Chairman of the Racecourse Association Ltd from 2004 to 2009. which included serving on the Horserace Betting Levy Board, and was a member of the British Horseracing Board between 2004 and 2007.  He was a part of the committee that oversaw the formation of BHA, Racing Enterprises Limited and Racing for Change.

David was Chairman of Arena Leisure plc from May 2010 overseeing its sale to Aldersgate Investments in March 2012.

Since leaving a full-time executive role, latterly as President of Europe for EDS (Electronic Data Systems), he has built a portfolio of business interests. He is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Innovation Group, Nair and Co, Teufel GmbH, and Lumesse plc and a non-executive director of Interserve plc.

David was County Councillor to Gloucestershire County Council in 2009 to 2013. He runs his own small stud farm, Bobble Barn Stud in the Cotswolds, and is a racehorse owner.

Notes to Editors

1. The announcement regarding the appointment of Nick Rust as BHA Chief Executive can be found here: 

2. The announcement regarding the appointment of six new Non-Executive Directors to the BHA Board can be found here: