11 June 2024

Julie Harrington to step down from role as BHA chief executive

11 June 2024

Julie Harrington is to step down from her role as chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority after four years in the role.

To facilitate a smooth changeover, Harrington has agreed to stay in the position until the end of the year, although she said she had made the decision to leave her post “some time ago”.

The BHA is already looking for a replacement for outgoing chair, Joe Saumarez Smith, who will step down in May 2025.

Harrington said: “With so much now in place to develop and grow the Industry Strategy, which will secure a brighter future for British horseracing, it felt like the right time to move on and let someone else steer the sport through its next exciting phase.

“It has been a huge privilege to lead the BHA during what has been a period of real change as the sport has developed and implemented shared strategies for a sustainable future, and an ability to speak with one united voice.

“I love working in horseracing, it is an amazing sport to be involved in. I will always be a fan and you can expect to see me at the races in the years ahead. I am proud of the progress the industry has made over the past three years, especially in improving the governance structure, and I hope that racing’s stakeholders will continue to work together cooperatively to attract new audiences, further improve the customer experience and grow the sport.

“I am confident that if the sport continues to foster the sense of unity and shared purpose that we have developed over the past few years then great things can be achieved.

“My future plans are likely to include a move to a varied non-executive career. Although I took the decision to stand down some time ago, I have agreed to stay on until the end of year to allow a smooth transition to a new CEO.

“The BHA board is already engaged in the search for Joe’s successor as chair and informing the board of my intentions now gives the nominations committee the opportunity to plan an orderly handover, consider the complementary skills of candidates and allow the new Chair to be part of the final stages of CEO recruitment.

“British Horseracing is one of the cornerstones of our sporting and cultural heritage. I will be forever thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it, both during my tenures at Northern Racing, on the BHA board and most recently as CEO of the BHA. I wish it every success in the years to come.”

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