The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the sport’s governing and regulatory body, has today confirmed the appointment of two new Independent Non-Executive Directors to the BHA Board.
Kyrsten Halley (pictured, left) took up her role on 1 May 2023 and will serve an initial three-year term. She fills the vacancy created by Joe Saumarez Smith’s appointment as BHA Chair – a position subsequently extended until 31 May 2025.
With more than 10-years’ experience in senior leadership positions, Kyrsten is the Marketing Director at British-based food manufacturer, Samworth Brothers, where she also advises on brands to the Group Board. Formerly Head of Brand for Ryvita, Kyrsten specialises in brand strategy, digital marketing and delivering transformational change.
A life-long horseracing fan, she enjoys spending time with her retired thoroughbred racehorse, Eclair Mag, and competing in dressage competitions, including events organised by Retraining of Racehorses.
Tara Warren will begin her initial three-year term on 1 December 2023, replacing current Independent Non-Executive Director, Laura Whyte, following the completion of her maximum nine-year term.
As Executive Director and Board member at West Ham United Football Club, Tara leads the delivery of the club’s strategic and commercial priorities, including its broadcast rights, stadium and stakeholder management, domestic and international growth and digital and data functions. She is also the Director responsible for the club’s equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy.
A regular racegoer, prior to joining West Ham Tara held a number of marketing, commercial and business development roles, including with estates management company, Savills UK, and Romford-based shopping and leisure centre, The Brewery.
The appointments follow an extensive and competitive recruitment process carried out by the BHA’s Nominations Committee, which makes recommendations to the BHA Board on suitable candidates. The Nominations Committee is comprised of representatives from the Thoroughbred Group and racecourses, as well as independent members.
BHA Chair, Joe Saumarez Smith, said:
“We are very pleased to welcome Kyrsten and Tara to the BHA Board. Alongside a passion for racing, both have strong commercial backgrounds, with extensive experience in digital marketing, customer engagement and transformational change – all of which will be essential as British racing continues to progress our long-term strategy.
“We are also immensely grateful to Laura Whyte, who has made a significant contribution to British racing during almost nine years on the BHA Board and still has a vital role to play prior to the conclusion of her term at the end of November.
“A passionate advocate for racing’s people and the importance of our sport appealing to the next generation, Laura’s input will continue to be crucial, not least in our collective efforts to future-proof our industry by delivering a sustainable plan for British racing.”
Kyrsten Halley said:
“I’m delighted to be joining the BHA Board, especially at such a critical time for British racing, when there is important work underway to shape racing’s future. I look forward to contributing to this shared objective, particularly thinking about how we harness the power of technology to help make racing appeal to the next generation of customers.”
Tara Warren said:
“It’s a huge privilege to be given the opportunity to serve on the BHA Board. I am excited about working with colleagues and stakeholders to support the development and delivery of racing’s long-term plan – a key element of which will be revenue growth, including through developing the sport’s fan base and appealing to new and more diverse audiences.”
1. Current membership of the BHA Board can be viewed here.
2. The BHA’s Nominations Committee makes recommendations to the Board on suitable candidates for appointment to the Board and the role of Chief Executive. The Nominations Committee consists of:
- Joe Saumarez Smith (C)
- Wilf Walsh – (appointed by the Racecourse Association)
- Charlie Parker (appointed by the Thoroughbred Group)
- David Jones
- Laura Whyte