RVL needs more than spin says Munz

Breednet - Sunday June 23

Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association (TROA) Chairman, Jonathan Munz, has claimed that Racing Victoria (RVL) has tried to spin a story about having widespread industry support for the appointment of Tim Eddy as Chairman of RVL.

Owners are looking for RVL to improve their performance quickly or they will seek further change.

“Who are they trying to kid - everyone knows that RVL does not have widespread support for its failure to refresh the majority of the board and refusal to appoint a new outside chairman. I really hope that they do a better job, but the reality is that if RVL’s performance does not improve quickly and previous poor policies and decisions are not reversed, the industry will take action to remove further directors. In that case, all the spin and pretend unity in the world will not help them. Ideally, they immediately pivot and get it right, but time is ticking.”

“Like me, most credible people believe that selecting a chairman from the incumbent directors was a mistake and that Tim Rourke, the new director and CEO of Powercor has much better qualifications and was the only appropriate choice. I believe Sharon McCrohan has made a positive contribution as a director and is an appropriate Vice Chair, but she would be the first to acknowledge her lack of detailed racing knowledge and is able to understand the need for additional better board members with appropriate commercial and racing expertise and experience.

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"I have nothing personal against Tim Eddy, but he was not considered good enough to replace Brian Kruger as chairman 12 months ago and was passed over as acting chairman for Mike Hirst. How is he suddenly the correct choice now? We have of course wasted months while they waited for the original preferred choice, Gill McLachlan, to accept the position. The Victorian Racing Minister, Anthony Carbines, promised Gill would lead a refresh of the board, together with the new directors, Tim Rourke and Mark Player. That was after originally undertaking to procure the replacement of a majority of the incumbents. Unfortunately, we are now stuck “back to the future”, with the original incumbents we were complaining about remaining, being the very directors that the Minister promised to help refresh and remove.“

“In the current circumstances, it would be so much better and more credible if the incumbents on the RVL board actually owned up to having stuffed things up, said sorry and asked us to trust them to pivot and improve their performance, including listening to race clubs, investors and participants and reversing some of the previous poor RVL decisions and policies. Interestingly, until now, the only person at RVL that has attempted to seek to repair bridges in that way, is the Acting CEO, Aaron Morrison, who has acknowledged that former CEO Andrew Jones got it wrong.

"Tim Eddy, to his credit, has contacted me following his appointment and I emphasised what was expected.  The things that need urgent fixing include reversing incorrect race programming, eradicating the failed tenth metro race, cutting bloated RVL overheads, ending misallocations of prize money for foolish pop up races like the All Star Mile, reforming poor regulatory vet performance and getting rid of non performing staff.

"Even more importantly, it also means consulting with and working constructively with race clubs and industry participants, who they have arrogantly disregarded. Pretending you have done a wonderful job is just tone deaf. Interestingly, after enabling two terrible chairmen in Brian Kruger and Mike Hirst and also the much criticised departed CEO, Andrew Jones, the incumbent directors will now tend to behind closed doors blame them and throw them under the bus. That is something that naturally happens in these circumstances, but the fact is that the incumbents were there all along. Hopefully, the two new directors, Tim Rourke and Mark Player have an outsize influence. As I stated, if RVL’s performance does not improve quickly, the industry will take action to force further changes. Hopefully there is no need.“

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