ATC chief executive Darren Pearce resigns

darren pearce
Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce has announced his resignation.

Darren Pearce has announced his resignation from the Australian Turf Club after 12 years as a leading racing administrator firstly with the Australian Jockey Club and as the first chief executive of the two merged Sydney clubs.

Pearce, who will leave the club at the end of the month, said the healthy financial state of the ATC and the success of the recent $10 million Everest made it the right time for him to leave.

He also said he looked forward to spending more time with his wife and two young children with racing all-consuming at weekends although he would still be involved as an owner and spectator.

“For a racing fan, it has been a tremendous privilege to lead the ATC through a period of positive change, and for it to now be considered one of the world’s leading racing businesses,” Pearce said.

“It’s a great turnaround story that is set to get better as the club further invests in tracks, stables and facilities.

“Success is a team game and I must thank the ATC and predecessor boards I have worked with for their guidance and encouragement. As a young CEO, I have learnt so much from leaders such as Ron Finemore, John Cornish, Michael Crismale and Laurie Macri.

“I also acknowledge Racing NSW and in particular Peter V’landys for his bold vision, leadership and friendship over so many years.

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“It is the right time for me to step off and spend more time with my children as they start to get involved in school and school sports at weekends.

“My family has supported me but racing is 40 or more weekends a year and now it’s time to be with them.”

Pearce, who joined the Australian Jockey Club as chief financial officer in 2005, became the first chief executive of the ATC when the merger between the AJC and Sydney Turf Club was effected in early 2011.

Some of the problems the club had to overcome during his tenure included the Equine Influenza out break in 2007 followed by the closure of Randwick to accommodate World Youth Day, concrete cancer in the Randwick grandstand, track failures and the global financial crisis.

“Things had to change and after securing the merger of the AJC and STC and a period of financial consolidation and debt reduction, the club was strongly positioned to go forward,” he said.

“Racing NSW’s racefields legislation and tax parity victories, and a new media rights deal positioned the ATC for an unprecedented period of growth and investment. Record prizemoney increases, The Championships and now the TAB Everest are the result of many years of hard work.”

Pearce’s last day will be at the ATC’ annual general meeting on November 30 with James Heddo, executive general manager of racing, and Matt Galanos, chief financial and operations officer, to become acting joint chief executives until the role is filled.