The Canberra Racing Club has appointed former Australian Jockey Club and Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer Darren Pearce as its CEO. Pearce was the youngest ever CEO of the Australian Jockey Club when he was appointed in 2009, was the founding CEO of the ATC and served as Executive General Manager of Media and International at Tabcorp.
Chair of the Racing Club Committee, Tim Olive, said the Canberra Racing Club was delighted to have secured Pearce as its new CEO at such a transformative time.
“Darren joins the CRC having been a Senior Executive within both racing and wagering and the banking and accounting industries,” he said.
“In his time at the ATC, Darren played a key role in reinvigorating Sydney racing, leading the organisation through a period of major growth and change,” Olive said. “He was closely involved in the merger of the AJC and STC (in 2011) and was the inaugural CEO of the merged entity.
“Importantly, in view of the CRC’s major redevelopment plans, he partnered with Racing NSW to secure funding for the redevelopment of Randwick racecourse, including the delivery of a new six-storey, $180 million grandstand facility, and successfully oversaw the project with the ATC Board and team.
“He was the leader of the ATC when the Championships and the Everest race concepts were introduced by Racing NSW. His time as CEO of the ATC coincided with a period of major increases to prizemoney, strong growth in the industry and a major financial strengthening for the club and Racing NSW.”
Pearce will oversee thoroughbred racing in the ACT as well as its major Precinct Development which will eventually be home to more than 5000 Canberrans. The club has said the long-term project, which has stalled over the years, would deliver 3200 dwellings on the light rail corridor, generate $1 billion in economic activity and create more than 2000 jobs.
“This is a once in a 100-year opportunity to deliver business and precinct transformation that will have a generational impact,” Pearce said of the appointment which starts on 5 September. “I am highly focused to create a brighter future for the thoroughbred racehorse, the people who care for them and the people of Canberra.”
“Our Precinct Development will be world-class and offer incredible amenity to our Clubs’ patrons and new neighbours,” Pearce said. “Thoroughbred training, raceday and entertainment facilities will be world-class, environmentally friendly, safe and proudly represent our nation’s capital.”
Olive said Pearce has rich experience in the development of racecourse assets and managing property development transactions with major national and international partners.
“Darren’s excellent stakeholder management and commercial skills will also be of critical importance for the CRC as we navigate this period of significant change which will lead to a stronger future for the Club and the broader racing industry in the ACT.”
In other turf club news, ex-politician and racing administrator Peter McGauran has been elected chairman of the ATC.
McGauran, the former Chief Executive of Racing Australia, has also had roles with Racing NSW, Tabcorp, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Aushorse Marketing.