The British Horseracing Board (BHB) today announced plans for a major restructuring of its Board.

The changes, together with the Executive restructuring announced in January, will ensure that Racing’s Governing Authority is appropriately structured to discharge its new responsibilities following the introduction of commercial licensing arrangements, and in anticipation of its role as successor central funding body to the Horserace Betting Levy Board and of the acquisition of the Tote by a Racing Trust.

The changes have been agreed following recommendations from a Structure Review Group, appointed by the BHB Board in July 2001. Chaired by BHB Chairman Peter Savill, the Group comprised the heads of the four BHB shareholder bodies – Christopher Spence (Jockey Club), Keith Brown (Racecourse Association), Jim Furlong (Racehorse Owners Association) and Rhydian Morgan-Jones (Industry Committee (Horseracing) Limited) – as well as Martin Broughton, an independent BHB Director, and BHB Secretary-General Tristram Ricketts.

The BHB Board agreed that effective commercial and governance arrangements require a more even balance between representatives of the industry, independent Directors and executive Directors. This will be achieved by:

  • a reduction in the representation of each of the four shareholders to one each, with the heads of each organisation, together with the Chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association, serving in an ex-officio capacity.
  • an increase in the number of independent Directors (including the Chairman) from two to four.
  • the appointment of up to three Executive Directors.
  • The distinctive role of trainers, who make a heavy investment in training facilities and are major employers, is recognised by a new provision under which the National Trainers Federation will liaise formally with a BHB Director of their choice, to ensure that trainers’ views are properly understood and considered in Board discussions. The NTF will also be given seats on the Finance and Marketing Committees.

    The revised BHB Memorandum and Articles of Association and Shareholders’ Agreement, reflecting the changes, will now be circulated to the four BHB shareholders for formal ratification as soon as possible so that the new constitution can take effect this summer.

    Directors appointed by the shareholders who will not continue to serve in an ex-officio capacity will retire on the day the new constitution takes effect. The search for additional independent Directors has already begun. A decision will be taken shortly as to which Executive Directors, in addition to the Chief Executive, will join the Board.

    BHB Chairman Peter Savill said today: ‘This restructuring is essential if BHB is to lead British Racing effectively and efficiently. BHB needs to be a dynamic, commercially-focused organisation, while at the same time continuing to be democratic, responsible and accountable to the racing industry. The Board is confident that the changes announced today will achieve this. These reforms now complete the process started at the beginning of my Chairmanship to convert BHB into a modern organisation driven by its executives rather than its Board, with the Board modelled on Plc lines rather than conventional sporting body lines where the Board is generally made up entirely of representatives from within the sport.

    ‘Effective consultation and communication will continue to be key watchwords. In anticipation of BHB controlling the central funds, formal arrangements will be put in place to ensure that the industry is fully consulted on expenditure priorities.’

    A fuller summary of the proposals is attached.

    For further information, please contact BHB Communications Manager Alan Delmonte on 020 7343 3318.