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ROA chief executive Harris to stand down

04 October 2011

MICHAEL HARRIS is to retire as chief executive of the Racehorse Owners' Association at the end of the year, when he will be succeeded by the BHA's assistant racing director Richard Wayman.

Harris, 62, began his career in racing more than 40 years ago and has been with the ROA since 1998, while Wayman, 40, has worked for the BHA for eight years.

"I count myself extremely lucky to have spent most of my life working within an area that I still feel passionate about," said Harris, a former editor and chief executive of the Racing Post, who created the Betting Shop Display sheet.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris: "I have to save the greatest praise for the ROA staff"

  PICTURE: Racing Post  

"However, the only way I have been able to run this association successfully is to devote most of my waking hours to thinking about the job and I'm now beginning to feel I should make room for a few other activities in life.

"I've worked with many wonderful and talented people at the ROA over the years. However, I have to save the greatest praise of all for the ROA staff, who have been the bedrock of the association for many years and have never complained about going the extra mile. Without their dedication, the ROA would not be the organisation it is today."

Harris, whose journalistic career also embraced Raceform, the Racing Blue and Pacemaker, and who has overseen a rise in membership at the ROA from 4,500 to more than 7,000, added: "I'm likely to continue to do some part-time work for the ROA after I leave and there will, in any case, be a significant handover period.

"I'm extremely pleased Richard Wayman has agreed to become the ROA's new chief executive. Richard is a racing professional to his fingertips and I honestly can't think of anyone who would be better suited to the role."

A Cambridge graduate, Wayman, who begins his new job on January 1, qualified as a chartered accountant while working for Pricewaterhouse- Coopers before entering the racing world professionally as the finance director at the British Racing School.

He said: "I feel privileged to have been appointed chief executive of the ROA, representing the people who, together, are the single biggest contributors to the funding of British racing.

"I am looking forward to working with the council and the rest of the ROA team, as well as our partners within the Horsemen's Group, with a view to enhancing the experience associated with being a racehorse owner in Britain.

"Under Michael's leadership, the ROA has gone from strength to strength and, with owners being the lifeblood of our sport, my priority will be to build on all he has achieved to ensure that owners, and particularly ROA members, are properly valued and fairly treated."

Wishing Wayman well in his new job BHA director of racing Ruth Quinn said: "Richard's done a fantastic job for us over the last eight years and is well respected by both racecourses and horsemen. We're very sorry to see him go but I'm sure he'll be a huge asset to both the ROA and Horsemen's Group." 

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