The VRC Board is delighted to make some significant and positive announcements today.
In an unusual year filled with uncertainty, the board has been heavily engaged in guiding the club through COVID-19. We have been focusing on the challenges we face, as well as emerging opportunities within the framework of our future strategic direction.
The VRC Board is now pleased to announce the following:
- The appointment of three new VRC Directors
- The appointment of the new VRC Chief Executive Officer
- The transition of the current VRC Chief Executive Officer to Chairman
1. NEW DIRECTORS
The VRC Board conducted an extensive process that considered an impressive list of highly credentialed candidates from which three directors have been chosen. The three new directors who will take their place at the June board meeting are:
- Dave Barham
- Vin Cox
- Michael Saadie
Each of them brings to the VRC a very special set of skills, as well as a broad network of relationships across local, interstate, and international jurisdictions. The areas of expertise covered by these appointments, which are central to our future direction, include media, racing excellence, globalisation, membership engagement, horse welfare, financial security and the capabilities to ensure a robust balance sheet.
Importantly, they all have significant racing interests, and a profound respect for the VRC as a club, as a business, and as a brand.
Each director has been appointed by the board to fill a casual vacancy. As is the case with every appointment to a casual vacancy, each director is required to offer himself for re-election by the members ahead of the next Annual General Meeting.
A background summary for each director follows:
Dave Barham is a multi-award winning sports media executive and board director, known for innovating to set industry standards, advanced negotiation skills and leading teams to deliver commercially and critically successful major events and large-scale projects.
Over a career spanning 35 years in television, including time with Network 10 and the Seven Network, Dave’s experience and achievements in all areas of this media field have been extensive. The positions he has held are: Head of Cricket, Seven Network (2018), Executive Consultant, Head of BBL and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix for Network 10 (2015 – 2018), Head of Sport, Network 10 (2011 – 2015), Head of Production, Network 10 (2010 – 2011) and Managing Director and Owner, AFL Films (1991 – 2010).
His career highlights are as follows:
- Leading all aspects of cricket coverage following the Seven Network’s historic acquisition of media rights.
- Leading Network 10’s BBL coverage, which set new standards for sports broadcasts worldwide and won three Australian Sports Commission Awards and a Logie for Most Outstanding Sports Coverage.
- Personally brokering a deal with former chief executive of the Formula One Group Bernie Ecclestone to secure Network 10 and Foxtel broadcasting rights for the F1 Australian Grand Prix.
- Developing and executing the creative vision for the media coverage of numerous major sporting events including the BBL, the Sochi Winter Olympics, the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, AFL Grand Finals from 2001-2011 and the F1 Australian Grand Prix.
- Head of Sport, Executive Producer or Producer of nine AFL Grand Finals between 2002 and 2011.
- Establishing the AFL Film and Videotape Library (now known as AFL Media), regarded as the most comprehensive sporting library for any single sport in the southern hemisphere.
Dave has been a thoroughbred racehorse owner for nearly 20 years.
Vin Cox has an international profile with significant expertise in racing, bloodstock, thoroughbred sales, business development and strategic growth.
He is currently Managing Director of Godolphin Australia following seven years as Managing Director of Magic Millions, which saw the Queensland business become the largest thoroughbred auction business in Australia.
He was instrumental in establishing the Gold Coast Carnival and the $10m Magic Millions Raceday. He successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar grant with the Queensland Government, which increased tourism and brought economic benefits to the local economy.
He also managed the redevelopment of the Magic Millions Complex.
Prior to his time at Magic Millions, he set up and operated his own Bloodstock Consultancy for eight years, having completed 14 years with William Inglis as an Associate Director, Auctioneer and Bloodstock Consultant.
Vin was Chairman of the Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers, where he led dynamic changes to include Hong Kong in the “Blue Book” for internationally recognised graded and listed races, while advancing Korea to be recognised for its Black Type racing.
He was the Australasian representative for Keeneland Association Kentucky USA (2003 – 2018) and currently serves on the Australian Pattern Committee in its various forms.
With horse welfare front of mind in the racing world, he recently joined the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group.
He has been a Committee Member for the Bligh Amateur Race Club since 1995, serving as its President from 2010 – 2014. He is a current Director of the Alto Group (2006 – present).
Michael Saadie is an experienced banker with over 30 years’ of experience domestically and internationally. He held key roles at ANZ over 20 plus years across Institutional Banking, Wealth Management, Private and Corporate Banking. He was appointed Managing Director of ANZ’s Asian businesses in 2007.
He joined NAB in 2011 and was appointed General Manager NAB Corporate Australia with responsibility for all the major privately-owned companies and publicly listed ASX companies outside the ASX200.
In July 2014 Michael was appointed to lead the NAB UK & Europe operations with responsibility for NAB’s global lines of business in the United Kingdom. This included responsibility for the Corporate Institutional Business, Fixed Income Currency – Commodities, Structured Asset Finance, UK Commercial Real Estate as well involvement in the divestment of Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank.
On his return to Australia in February 2017 Michael was appointed Chief Risk Officer for Business and Private Banking and Consumer Bank.
Michael is currently Chairman of JBWere and Acting Group Executive Business and Private Banking and will take up a permanent role as Executive, Business Banking Metro Australia later in 2020.
Michael has been involved in racehorse ownership for over 30 years, along with interests in broodmares that supports his breeding interests.
2. CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The VRC Board is also delighted to announce that the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the club will be Steve Rosich.
Steve will become the 13th CEO of the VRC. He is an experienced sports administrator with over 20 years in senior executive roles at two AFL clubs that are market leaders in membership, partner engagement and growth.
Steve was CEO of the Fremantle Dockers for 11 years and has successfully grown the club's membership, corporate partner and sponsorship portfolio to be the second largest in revenue in the AFL.
He also delivered Australia’s largest football club administration and high performance facility, and the best stadium experience in the AFL at Perth's Optus Stadium.
Steve's experience in achieving outcomes in growth in club support, revenues and event experience will be integral to the VRC in continuing to deliver on its strategic plan to be the best racecourse and racing club, as well as presenting one of the best racing carnivals in the world.
With Steve’s strong commercial acumen and broad range of skills and expertise, we are confident he will effectively engage with all stakeholders in the racing industry.
We welcome Steve and his family to Melbourne and to the VRC.
He will be joining the club in September and commence a transition to the role effective post Cup Week in November 2020.
"It is very exciting to be part of the racing industry that has a rich history and diverse range of stakeholders,” Steve said.
“I am looking forward to helping drive the future success of the VRC, racing in Australia and the experience of all industry stakeholders."
The succession plan has been well communicated, and it is intended that Neil Wilson will become the 22nd Chairman of the VRC in November 2020.
As previously advised in March 2020, plans and timetables for the Chairman’s succession as well as the appointment of the new CEO have needed to be delayed and remain flexible due to the COVID-19 crisis. Within that context, and in the best interests of the club, the VRC Board has extended the time of Amanda Elliott and Neil Wilson, in their respective roles of Chairman and CEO until after Cup Week this year.
This was deemed necessary to ensure stability and continuity, as well as manage risk over the next few months when key strategic and operational decisions will be made as we emerge from this unprecedented situation.
The VRC Board wishes to acknowledge the ongoing support and flexibility of both Amanda and Neil, who have agreed to see the club through this period.
In closing, the VRC Board would like to congratulate everyone, and celebrate the appointment of our incoming Chief Executive Officer, as well as the three new directors.