The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) has verified the election of four new board members and the co-option of one current member.
A significant goal of the ROA has been to pursue a strategy of transitioning to leadership via a “skills-based board,” which is one of “a number of recommendations” made by the existing board as part of the organisation’s Corporate Governance study.
Celia Djivanovic has been re-elected, while Philip Davies MP and former trainer and current owner and breeder Mouse Hamilton-Fairley have been elected for the first time.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti businessman and long-time owner Khalid Almudhaf, as well as former Group Finance Director and ROA Scottish representative Ken McGarrity, have been co-opted.
Both co-opted candidates must be approved by members at the ROA AGM on September 1, at which time the appointees will formally join the board.
Corporate governance agenda
Charlie Parker, President of the ROA said: “I am thrilled to welcome our Board members. Both our new Board members and Celia’s re-election are indicative of the impetus behind our corporate governance agenda at the ROA.
“We are determined to, in line with our Review, drive a more diverse set of people and skills on our Board. Everyone in this cohort, from Group finance directors and MPs, to International owners and owner-breeders, is bringing a new and fresh perspective to our leadership.
“With so many challenges to ownership, racing’s participants and racing in its totality, I look forward to working closely with the Board to help the ROA continue to be the voice for all owners, domestic or international based, our members and together deliver for racing’s future.”
The new board members have backgrounds in a variety of professions, including racing, law, politics, and business.
Djivanovic, a lifelong racehorse owner, creator of the Horse Trust, and a member of the ROA board of directors since 2018, stated on his re-election: “It has been fantastic to co-lead the ROA’s work on corporate governance and the review.
“Corporate governance is incredibly important to securing the future of our sport and we still have a lot more to do, not just here but across the sport. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me and I look forward to working alongside the new members and rest of the Board and executive on the issues most important to owners.”
Meanwhile, Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, offers a wealth of political experience to the board, having served for over ten years as an officer of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Racing and Bloodstock, as well as another ten years on the DCMS Select Committee.
The MP remarked: “As a lifelong racing fan, this is a sport I know and love. To be involved at this level is a great privilege.
“The members and the board have been so welcoming. I am looking forward to getting stuck in and helping racing and owners both navigate the challenging period ahead but also thrive in the future.”
Finally, final elected member Hamilton Fairley will be responsible for ensuring better representation of the ‘small owner’ in horse racing. He has extensive legal experience, having worked on referral order panels, prison projects, and as a volunteer in restorative justice with the Hampshire Youth Offending Team.
“It is a huge honour to be elected to the ROA board,” she commented. “I will do my very best to represent those smaller racehorse owners, owner-breeders and syndicate members to make sure their voices are heard and listened to better in the future, across all aspects of this sport we love, whether it’s in decision making at the highest level or improving the raceday experience. In addition, I am keen to ensure more transparency on equine welfare issues.”