Wyong Chairman Garry Whitaker steps down

Wyong Chairman Garry Whitaker steps down 2      Wyong Chairman Garry Whitaker steps down 3

Garry Whitaker         John Waghorn

Wyong Race Club Chairman Garry Whitaker has officially stood down as both Chairman and as an elected director of the Wyong Race Club effective as of the May 28 Board meeting .

As provided under the constitution the Board has elected John Waghorn as the Club’s new Chairman.

Prior to his retirement from full time work in 2011, John Waghorn worked in senior management roles at a number of local councils over some 25 years. His qualifications include both an Economics Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Management. John’s expertise lies in corporate governance, risk management, strategic planning and financial management. These are all areas where he has made a substantial contribution as a Director to the management of the Wyong Race Club over the past four and half years.  In taking over as Chairman following Tuesday’s Board meeting John paid tribute to the significant contribution Garry Whitaker had made during his term.

In announcing his retirement Garry Whitaker said, “I have achieved what I set out to do when I accepted this role so the time is right for me to move on and for John, as the new Chairman now, to lead the Club into a pretty exciting future”.

Mr Whitaker said that he has enjoyed his time as Chairman however, increasing work and other commitments in the coming months will mean that he is not going to be in a position to dedicate as much time to the Racing Club as the job requires. “I won’t do half a job, and if I can’t give it 100% all of the time, I don’t feel that I would be doing the best thing for the Club”.

Garry Whitaker, along with Marion Langlar, John Waghorn and Mark Waugh were elected by the Members to the Wyong Race Club Board in November 2015 following a 22 month period when the Club was under Racing NSW administration.

Three independent directors were subsequently appointed to the Board in February 2016 to join the four elected member representatives. The Board, under Garry’s Chairmanship, has been responsible for the administration and governance of the Club since that time.

Mr Whitaker said that, “with sound guidance from the current Board and a professional, hard-working team led by CEO David Jewell, the Wyong Race Club has made significant progress over the past four years. I am very proud of the achievements that we have delivered and I’m very confident about the Club’s future.”

Over the last four years the Club, with $1.4 million funding assistance from Racing NSW, has invested over $4.5 million in capital improvements – building the new horse pool, a new irrigation system for the tracks, the impressive new Parade Ring Pavilion, fully refurbished the middle floor of the Members’ stand, installed the new electronic gates and new entry ways at Rose Street and Howarth Street, purchased a new set of starting gates, machinery, equipment, new IT systems, upgraded the jockeys’ change rooms and undertaken numerous improvements to the training tracks.

At the same time the Club has delivered operational trading profits in each of the past four years and financially is in great shape, with no debt and strong cash reserves. “We have achieved the goals from our original strategic plan”, he said, “and it is now time to enable new leadership to move forward with a new strategic plan.  First and foremost will be the newly released $5 million Track and Training Master Plan.  The Club is working with Racing NSW on Stage One to build a new $4 million all-weather Polytrack later this year to support an increase in thoroughbred training activity at Wyong.”

“We are also planning to upgrade our stabling facilities and, in the longer term, the Board is looking to expand its commercial operations and establish a seven day a week business onsite.”

“My decision to retire now, rather than to wait for the Annual General Meeting in November, in part reflects another planned transition process for the management team.  With our CEO David Jewell having advised the Board late last year that he would be looking to cut back on his workload in the near future, the Board employed a new General Manager in March, Robin Taylor, who is now working closely with David and has assumed much of the responsibility for the day-to-day operations, while David concentrates on the Track and Training Masterplan.”

In parting, Mr Whitaker says, “being Chairman has been a great experience in which I have met some wonderful people and, hopefully, have been able to contribute positively to the Club and the community.  “I can’t leave without also giving my sincerest thanks and acknowledgement for all the good work undertaken by my fellow Board members, the staff and Management Team; the generosity of the Members and Sponsors;  the light and colour provided by the Trainers and Owners;  all of whom come together to make this sport and this Club great.”

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