Suzanne Eade to be appointed Horse Racing Ireland CEO

Financial officer of the organisation will succeed Brian Kavanagh in September

Suzanne Eade (left) will take over as CEO of the HRI from Brian Kavanagh (centre). Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Suzanne Eade (left) will take over as CEO of the HRI from Brian Kavanagh (centre). Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Suzanne Eade has won the race to be appointed chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland.

She will succeed the long-serving chief executive of racing’s ruling body, Brian Kavanagh, when he steps down in September.

Eade has been chief financial officer at HRI since 2015 and is just the second person to take charge of the semi-state body since it was formed in 2001.

Her appointment after an interview process was recently notified to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and will shortly be rubber-stamped by the Minister, Charlie McConalogue.

Eade, who prior to joining HRI worked for a number of companies including Boots Ireland and Oral-B, will serve a term of seven years. Her salary is understood to be €190,000 per year.

The ‘in-house’ appointment means Eade can be expected to be up to speed with persistent wider issues for the sector such as Brexit and the continuing fallout from Covid-19.

There are problems closer to home too such as allegations of doping within Irish racing that refuse to go away.

Both HRI and the under-fire Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are due to appear before the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee on Thursday on the back of claims made by top trainer Jim Bolger.

Both Kavanagh and Eade have appeared before the Agriculture Committee before and Eade also appeared before the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee earlier this year.

On that occasion HRI’s 2019 financial statement was examined by PAC including a €389,000 loss through the liquidation of a security transit company.

In 2019 a liquidator was appointed in the case of Business Mobile Security, the holding company for Seneca which had been employed by HRI in 2017 to transport Tote takings from all tracks in the country, as well as gate receipts and cash takings from its own racecourses.

Eade told the Committee that HRI was among those owed money who had unsuccessfully argued that cash shouldn’t be regarded as part of a company’s assets. She said that insurance provisions hadn’t changed since but that future insurance provisions would be examined.

Kavanagh ends the last of three terms in September before taking over as chief executive of the Curragh racecourse.

Controversy greeted his appointment for a third term in charge in 2016 when the post wasn’t advertised in open competition.

Government guidelines stipulated chief executives of semi-State bodies should be limited to a single term of seven years.

In other news it was confirmed by the IHRB on Monday that jockey David Simmonson has been cleared to apply for a riding licence.

Simmonson, who rode five winners on the flat in 2017, was banned for two years in 2019 following a positive test for cocaine and cannabis at Tipperary earlier that season.

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