Julie Harrington is to succeed Nick Rust as the new chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority.
Harrington is currently the head of British Cycling, a post which she has held for four years.
Harrington was a BHA board member between 2014 and 2019 and had previously been a senior executive with Northern Racing, including a spell as managing director at Uttoxeter, before going on to be operations director at the Football Association. She will take over from Rust early in the new year.
Harrington, 51, said: “I’m so excited to be coming home to racing and playing my part helping this great sport to achieve a prosperity from which everyone benefits.
“I know how important collaboration across racing has been over the past few months and I look forward to working with colleagues from all parts of the sport.
“The BHA and its team of dedicated officials do a great job in keeping racing safe, clean and fair. I am proud to take on this leadership role in such a well-regulated sport, which enriches the lives of horses and people, and has a special place at the centre of national life and our rural communities.”
BHA chair Annamarie Phelps said: “This is a vital leadership role for the organisation and British racing. Julie’s hands-on knowledge of horseracing, coupled with her governance and business experience, make her the ideal person to carry on with the task of restoring sustainable prosperity after the Covid crisis. We’ve got the right person, for the right job, at the right time.”
Rust will continue to lead the BHA as it works with industry bodies on resumption and recovery, with a revised industry plan due to be published “shortly”.
Phelps added: “Nick and his team are working closely with the RCA and The Horsemen’s Group to get racing through the next phase of Covid-19, to bring back the public, and support our owners and investors in the sport.
“There’ll be no let-up over the coming months and the sport will see a seamless transition to our new CEO.
“I want to thank all those at the BHA and the industry bodies who are working so hard and I’m confident that racing will continue to lead the way towards a full resumption of sport.”