RACING CHIEF QUITS
Chairman joins exodus
“I’m mindful that recent events could lead to perceptions of tension between my role at the club and my professional responsibilities as a banker.” OUTGOING VRC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL BURN
JUST days after the sensational departure of Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie, his counterpart at Victoria’s most powerful and prestigious race club has also resigned.
Macquarie Group executive director Michael Burn yesterday announced his departure as Victoria Racing Club chairman, with a perceived conflict in relation to business dealings influencing his decision.
Burn is part of a $7 billion Pacific Consortium offer launched in the past week to take over the Tatts Group, making it a rival to Tabcorp, the wagering operator that earns millions in revenue from gambling on tracks such as VRC headquarters Flemington.
Burn said the “interpretation’’ of his perceived conflict contributed to his decision, but said “not really’’ when asked if it was the sole reason.
Amanda Elliott, a former wife of ex-Carlton Football Club president John Elliott, will be interim chairman until the VRC board chooses a replacement early next year.
If Ms Elliott retains the position, she will become the first female to have that job at a metropolitan Melbourne race club.
Burn’s departure continues an era of great change and disruption in the most powerful roles in Victorian racing.
Moodie resigned on Thursday after integrity commissioner Sal Perna revealed the now former boss had tipped off trainer Peter Moody regarding cobalt positives of fellow trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh in January 2015.
Perna also determined Moodie “knowingly provided misleading and/or incomplete information to the RVL Integrity Council and/or the RVL Board regarding his disclosures in that role”.
RV chief executive Bernard Saundry finishes up at the end of this month, with a successor not likely to be found until well into the new year.
Burn had been VRC chairman for almost six years after serving three years as deputy.
He had been a board member for 13 years, including his time in those top positions.
“Given my lengthy tenure in the role, I have been contemplating for some months when would be the right time to step down,” Burn said
“I thought it was time to put the cue in the rack.
“I’m also mindful that recent events could lead to perceptions of tension between my role at the club and my professional responsibilities as a banker.
“The VRC is in terrific shape today and deserves its place among the country’s premier sporting bodies.
“I am proud of the outstanding progress the club’s board and management have been able to achieve during my tenure.”
Elliott, who has been vicechairman since 2011, said Burn had been outstanding in the job.
“Michael successfully negotiated favourable media rights for the VRC and contributed strongly to the evolution of the racing program at Flemington,” she said.