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Racing NSW Board appointments announced

Issued: Thursday, 10 December 2015  [PDF, 161 kb]

Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant today announced the appointment of four directors, including two new female members, to the Racing NSW Board.

Mr Grant said John Messara AM and Russell Balding AO have been reappointed together with two new appointments, Saranne Cooke and Jennifer Owen, which will make female representation comprise almost half of the Racing NSW Board.

"Chair John Messara and new Deputy Chair Russell Balding will continue to offer exceptional leadership of the board, delivering dividends for the industry," Mr Grant said.

"I congratulate Saranne Cooke and Jennifer Owen who bring their own considerable business, finance, industry and management skills and greater female representation to the board while Ms Cooke, from White Rock near Bathurst, will also be a passionate advocate for country racing."

The new board make-up comes at an exciting time for racing in NSW with the State Government recently legislating wagering tax parity with Victoria, delivering a $235 million shot in the arm for racing over the next five years and $90 million each year after that.

"Racing is so important to our state’s economy, with thoroughbreds alone contributing $2.6 billion annually and providing full-time employment to over 21,000 people," Mr Grant said.

"I have faith in the board to guide Racing NSW through this exciting time, ensuring the money is invested wisely in order to grow the sport for the benefit if all race goers.

"We’ve seen two fantastic announcements for country racing recently with both Country and Provincial Championships and TAB race meetings receiving increased prize money through our tax cuts for NSW racing - a great sign of things to come.’’

Mr Grant thanked outgoing board members Ken Brown and the previous Deputy Chair Naseema Sparks for their service.

"Ms Sparks and Mr Brown were instrumental in placing the industry on its current growth trajectory and the industry will continue to benefit from their hard work," Mr Grant said.

Mr Grant also thanked John O'Neill AO for chairing the independent selection panel and providing excellent advice and guidance throughout the appointment process.

MEDIA: Kara Lawrence 0428 807 084


John Messara AM – reappointed as Member and Chairperson for three years

Current Chairperson of Racing NSW. Chairman of Racing Australia. Chairman of Arrowfield Group Ltd. Vice Chairman of Asian Racing Federation. Member of Australian Pattern Committee. Director of John Messara family companies.

Russell Balding AO - reappointed as Member for four years and appointed Deputy Chairperson

Chairman of Cabcharge Australia Limited. Deputy Chairman of Destination NSW. Director of ComfortDelgro Cabcharge Pty Ltd. Director of CityFleet Networks Ltd (UK). Director of The Trust Company (Sydney Airport). Former Chief Executive of Sydney Airport Corporation.

Saranne Cooke – appointed as Member for four years

Chair of Phoenix General Practice Training Ltd. Interim Chair and Chair Finance Audit & Risk Management Committee, Western Health Alliance. Member, Finance Audit & Risk Management Committee, General Practice Registers Aust Ltd. Inaugural Chair of Western Region NSW Committee, Australian Institute of Company Directors. Strong background in the fields of marketing, management, strategy and technology. Strong regional/country representation.

Jennifer Owen – appointed as Member for three years

Investment Committee Member, Salvation Army Australia (Eastern Division). Chairman, Equity Research Investment Committee, Citigroup Global Markets. Chairman, Equity Research Oversight Committee. Strong background in equities research and banking finance and accounting. Has conducted extensive research on the global wagering landscape.