The Jockey Club, the largest commercial horse racing organisation in the UK, has revealed that Simon Bazalgette will leave his position as group chief executive by the end of 2019.

Bazalgette became the first person to take on the role when he joined the Jockey Club in September 2008, but will now depart in order to transition into a non-executive career.

He recently accepted an offer to become an independent non-executive director of the English Football League, the governing body for the three divisions below the Premier League.

The organisation’s Board of Stewards, with support from executive search and talent advisor, SRI, will launch a recruitment process to identify a replacement. The Jockey Club said this appointment could come from within its organisation.

“When appointed a little over 10 years ago, I agreed to do at least five years before going non-executive, but there’s always been plenty to do and great opportunities that have kept me fully engaged,” Bazalgette.

“On the back of our tenth set of record results, and with a great team in place, now seemed the right time to make my transition. I’ll be standing down as group chief executive by the end of the year, but I do hope to stay involved in a non-executive or advisory role.”

Roger Weatherby, senior steward of the Jockey Club, added: “Simon Bazalgette has made an outstanding contribution to British Racing as The Jockey Club’s first ever group chief executive.

“We are keen that the Jockey Club and racing does not lose the significant knowledge and expertise that Simon has, and so we very much hope that he will continue to be involved in some way into the future.”

Last month, the Jockey Club reported a 6.7% year-on-year increase in revenue to £214.6m (€250.0m/$280.0m) for 2018, but warned betting shop closures are likely to impact industry growth in 2019.

Over the past decade, under Bazalgette’s leadership, turnover is up 68.2%, driven by growth in admissions, media, hospitality, commercial partnerships, events, training facilities and breeding services.

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