Joe Saumarez Smith’s term as Chair of the BHA extended

20 Dec 2022 BHA Features

The Nominations Committee of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has recommended that Joe Saumarez Smith’s role as Chair of the BHA should be extended until 31 May 2025, and the BHA Board has unanimously supported this recommendation.

This represents a full three-year term from 1 June 2022, the date he was appointed as Chair.

Joe was initially appointed with a term to run until November 2023, which would have represented the expiry of his existing term of office on the BHA Board.

However, in view of Joe’s leading role, working alongside BHA Chief Executive Julie Harrington, in achieving industry governance restructure and instigating the launch of an industry strategy, the Committee have recommended that his term should be extended.

As part of this process, the BHA’s Members approved an amendment to the BHA’s Articles, to allow for the extended term to be offered.

Joe Saumarez Smith said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be asked by our shareholders to extend my term. I look forward to working with all of racing’s stakeholders on the many issues facing the industry, especially relating to our long-term strategic direction. I am sure that together we can achieve many positive results.”

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “I am delighted that Joe’s term as Chair has been extended. We have made great progress together in resolving the sport’s governance structure and initiating work on an industry strategy. Now is the time for stability as we look to develop and implement the strategy, drawing on the advantages of the new governance structure to bring about radical change for the sport.”

On 1 June 2022 Joe led an announcement, alongside Julie Harrington and other industry stakeholders, that Racing’s leaders have pledged to work together to set a long-term strategy and priorities for the British Racing industry. In September industry leaders met to discuss this strategic approach and on 13 December an initial update on progress was issued.

On 14 November 2022 the BHA also confirmed that, after many months of industry discussions, Racing’s leaders agreed a new governance structure for the sport to deliver unity and strategic leadership.

Notes to editors:

1. About Joe Saumarez Smith

Joe was initially appointed to the BHA Board on 1 December 2014.

He is CEO of Sports Gaming Limited, a London-based management consultancy to the gaming industry, and has for the past 20 years plus advised and worked closely with lotteries, governments, investment banks and operating companies on strategy, operational restructuring, finance and merger and acquisition.

He is also chairman of Bede Gaming, a leading technology supplier to operators and lotteries which is based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and other international regulatory bodies. He is also a shareholder Director of Eyas Gaming, a joint venture with Gauselmann Group, focussed on the recently regulated German gaming market.

He was appointed to the BHA Board as an independent Director in December 2014. He was appointed as Chair in June 2022.

Other roles within the Racing industry have included Chair of British racing’s Gambling Strategy Group and as a BHA representative on the Board of Racing Digital, which is leading the digital transformation of the sport. He has also played a prominent role in matters relating to betting and the Levy.

2. Membership of the BHA Board can be found here: Board and Executive – The British Horseracing Authority

3. The Nominations Committee consisted of:

  • David Jones (BHA Senior Independent Director and Regulatory Independent Non-Executive Director) (Chair)
  • Laura Whyte (BHA Independent Non-Executive Director)
  • Raj Parker (BHA Regulatory Independent Non-Executive Director)
  • Wilf Walsh (BHA Member Nominated Director and Chair of the Racecourse Association)
  • Charlie Parker (BHA Member Nominated Director and Chair of the Thoroughbred Group)