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Kevin Darley steps down

30 August 2011

KEVIN DARLEY is stepping down as chief executive of the Professional Jockeys' Association at the end of November, two years after he succeeded Josh Apiafi as the first former paid-up member to head the organisation.

Revealing his decision to the Racing Post on Thursday, Yorkshire-based Darley said he believed the role should ideally be operated from the PJA's head office in Newbury.

He said: "When I took on the job, the board said they were happy for me to stay in Yorkshire, but there's a lot more to the job than keeping contact with as many members as possible.

"To operate efficiently as a trade association and a company, the PJA really needs a chief executive who's based in
the south."

Former champion jockey Darley, whose first role with the association was as a safety officer in the early 1980s, served as joint-president with Tony McCoy for six years before becoming industry liaison officer on his retirement in 2007.

Darley said the decision to quit had been "very difficult", adding: "I have always had a huge passion for the association and what it's about and that won't change. I'll have as much, or as little, input on finding my successor as the members want."

Of the achievements duringhis time in charge, Darley said the most notable for members were the new branding under a welfare and support scheme negotiated with Stobarts, changes to the totting-up system and flexibility over one-day suspensions.

"More generally, though, I'm pleased to have built a very good relationship with other trade associations and the BHA," he said. "They all consult our members as a fundamental matter of course, such as in the Grand National and whip reviews."

Darley said he had not contemplated the next stage of his career, but added: "I will see what comes up, although I've learned a lot in the job and I'd like to put that experience to good use."

Joint-president McCoy said: "Jockeys are very sorry that Kevin is stepping down. He commands great respect and we thank him for the efforts he has made on behalf of all members."

McCoy added: "He was not only chief executive but also a good friend and I have always found his advice most helpful."

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