2 Jul 2014

Chief executive of racing board resigns

9:11 pm on 2 July 2014

Members of the racing industry say they're surprised by the sudden departure of the chief executive of the New Zealand Racing Board.

Chris Bayliss has resigned with only eight days' notice after two years at the board. He was appointed in May 2012 and quickly went about making changes to the way the board operates.

Last year, nearly $3 million was spent on restructuring.

Mr Bayliss said he is leaving for personal reasons and that the weekly commute between Auckland and Wellington is taking too great a toll on his health and family life.

Racing Board chairperson Glenda Hughes said Mr Bayliss would work with the board to ensure a smooth transition. In the meantime, chief financial officer Stewart McRobie has been appointed acting chief executive.

Harness Racing New Zealand chief executive Edward Rennell said the resignation is a disappointing loss for the industry.

Mr Rennell said there has been a high turnover of chief executives at the board for many years, which has affected the board's ability to lead the industry.

The Labour Party's spokesperson for racing, Ross Robertson, said the board has historical issues with maintaining high quality staff.

The New Zealand Racing Board had a turnover of $1.9 billion last year.