The British Horseracing Board has announced that it will advertise for an independent Director after reforms to its constitution and membership are ratified next month.
In December last year, the BHB unveiled a package of constitutional reforms designed to unite the racing industry behind a more democratic, representative and broadly-based Board with a more professional management, a stronger, more efficient governing body and a more effective consultation procedure. The reforms are now ready to be implemented, with just one formal vote outstanding.
Three of the four groups currently represented on the BHB Board – the Racecourse Association (RCA), the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and the Industry Committee – have already endorsed the reforms. Members of the Jockey Club are due to vote on the package, which is being recommended by the Stewards, at the end of this month. If they vote in favour, the reconstituted Board will meet for the first time on 10th May, following the adoption of new Articles of Association of the Company.
The new Board will then invite applications for an additional, independent Director. The successful candidate will have a strong interest in racing and a background in either politics, commerce, sport and the leisure industry, the media or the broad racing industry. The appointment will be made by the Board itself and the post will be advertised beyond the racing press.
At its monthly meeting this week, the BHB put the finishing touches to the reform package, which, following ratification, will reduce the number of Jockey Club-appointed Directors from four to three, and Industry Committee Directors from three to two, with the Thoroughbred Breeders Association gaining a seat for the first time.
Andrew Parker-Bowles and Adrian Pratt will stand down as appointees of the Jockey Club and Industry Committee respectively, but will become Co-opted Directors until the end of 1999.
The BHB Chairman, Peter Savill, will become an independent Director, rather than an appointee of the ROA. The vacant ROA seat will be taken by the Association’s President, Sir Eric Parker. The Thoroughbred Breeders Association will be represented by its Chairman, Nigel Elwes.
In addition, Paul Locke (ROA) is due to retire from the Board when his term of office expires on 6th June. The ROA Council will elect a replacement Director later this month.
John Sanderson’s term as an appointee of the RCA also expires on 6th June. The question of whether he will be re-appointed by the RCA has yet to be decided.
Once the new Board is fully operational, it will consider later in the year whether to appoint its Chief Executive to the Board.
Under the constitutional reforms, the Industry Committee will cease to have “”advisory and consultative powers”” and instead is being converted into a free-standing company (The Industry Committee Horseracing Ltd) with full corporate membership of the BHB equal to the Jockey Club, RCA and ROA.
Since the contitutional reform package was unveiled in December, a number of minor modifications to the original proposals have been agreed:
1) There will be changes to the voting arrangements in the Industry Committee. The National Trainers Federation and the Jockeys Association of Great Britain will have three votes each (an increase of one). The Racegoers Club will continue to have two votes and other organisations one vote each.
2) A provision in the current Articles barring the appointment as BHB Directors of full-time employees of member organisations and of Industry Committee member organisations is to be removed so that all appointing organisations will be free to choose their representatives on merit.
3) When selecting BHB Directors in future, each appointing organisation will be required to include its most senior person (the Senior Steward of the Jockey Club, Chairman of the RCA, President of the ROA and Chairman of the TBA) unless a majority of BHB Directors agree otherwise.
4) Under the original proposals governing the terms of office to be served by the Chairman and Directors of the BHB and members of the Race Planning and Finance Committees, all were barred from serving more than two consecutive terms. It has since been agreed that:
(i) In defining the maximum of two terms to be served by BHB Directors and members of the two standing Committees, the current appointment of those already serving will count as the first term.
(ii) The two-term maximum will not apply to full-time executives nominated to the Race Planning and Finance Committees.
5) BHB Directors will in future be appointed for a term of “”up to four years”” (compared with “”four years”” at present and “”between two and four years”” in the original proposals).
6) On a first appointment, the BHB Chairman will serve for “”between two and four years”” (compared with “”four years”” now). The Chairman can then be re-appointed for “”up to four years”” (compared with “”four years”” now and “”two to four years”” in the original proposals).