Nic Coward has been appointed as the first Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the new governing and regulatory authority for British Racing.
Coward, 40, will work alongside BHA’s first Chairman Paul Roy – whose appointment was announced last month – from the organisation’s inception early in 2007, when it will assume the current governance role of the British Horseracing Board (BHB) and the regulatory functions carried out by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA).
After 10 years at The Football Association, Coward left in 2004 to join AS Biss & Co, recently voted 2006 public affairs consultancy of the year. He has been Deputy Chairman since July 2005, and helped establish its leading sports advocacy service.
Nic joined The FA as its first solicitor from City firm Freshfields, later becoming Corporate and Legal Affairs Director, and spending almost two years as joint Acting CEO. He was responsible for a wide range of areas, from The FA’s broadcast and sponsorship deals and competitions, through to the refereeing and disciplinary system for the whole of football, as well as policy and government relations.
More recently, he has advised the board of the Premier League on legal, governance and regulatory issues, and chairs a coalition of national and international sports bodies that are campaigning together in commercial, broadcasting and sports betting areas. He is Honorary Treasurer of the Central Council for Physical Recreation, the trade association for sport and recreation bodies, and a non-executive director of the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel.
Speaking today of his appointment he said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Racing. The industry has come together to put in place new structures that will enable it to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I am looking forward to working with Paul Roy, the Board, staff and all the organisations that together create the sport, to bring the BHA to life and deliver the best for British Racing.”
Paul Roy, BHA’s Chairman-designate, said: “Nic has a highly successful track record at the FA. He has wide experience in both governance and regulation and is an independent, strategic thinker who will help to establish swiftly BHA’s identity. I am very much looking forward to working with him.”
Both appointments were overseen by a Nominations Panel comprising Robert Hughes (Chairman, Horserace Betting Levy Board), John Bridgeman (Chairman, HRA) and Martin Broughton (Chairman, BHB), and Coward’s selection was ratified by BHA’s four Members: the Racecourse Association, the Racehorse Owners Association, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and a group combining licensed personnel in the sport, led by the National Trainers Federation.
Robert Hughes said: “Nic Coward has an outstanding track record in sports administration and I am sure that he and Paul Roy will make an excellent team to lead the British Horseracing Authority.”
John Bridgeman said: “I am delighted that we have managed to secure Nic’s services for this vital role. His regulatory experience, combined with the racing experience of our Executive team and with Paul Roy as Chairman, should ensure an exciting future for the regulation and governance of British Horseracing.”
Martin Broughton said: “We entered the recruitment process for BHA’s Chief Executive believing that an individual from within the sport was preferable, but Nic’s enthusiastic approach towards the issues in Racing, allied with his extensive experience in sports administration meant that he soon emerged as the exceptional candidate for the role.”
Additional Personal Information
Educated at Shrewsbury School, Bristol University and College of Law, Guildford.
Family currently own six horses, two in training with Oliver Sherwood, with three home-bred youngsters and a broodmare at sister’s North Shropshire home.
The British Horseracing Authority
The BHA will come into being in early 2007, combining the governance responsibilities of BHB with the regulatory functions of HRA. The BHA will have a board of eight directors, including the Chairman and the Chief Executive.
Ian Renton, Racing Director of Arena Leisure plc, and Toby Balding, former trainer and Council member of the Racehorse Owners Association and Thoroughbred Breeders Association, have recently been announced as the two member nominee directors on the board, with practitioner experience. The remaining positions on the board to be filled are two independent directors, and a further two independent directors with regulatory experience.