NZ’s RITA names Dean McKenzie as interim Executive Chair

New Zealand’s Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) has confirmed that Dean McKenzie will take up the position of interim Executive Chair in a bid to support the passage of the country’s Racing Industry Bill.

McKenzie will take up the role from January until June 2020 to oversee RITA’s transformation into TAB NZ, taking over from current Chief Executive John Allen who will be stepping down from RITA on 20 December.

The role is an extension of the responsibilities McKenzie has undertaken since he was appointed Chair of RITA in July 2019.

According to RITA, ‘his appointment to Executive Chair will ensure RITA maintains the momentum of significant urgent reform required to revitalise racing, while providing continuity and stability in the management of the day to day activities of the TAB.’

Meanwhile, RITA Chief Operating Officer Stephen Henry will take on additional operational responsibilities until the end of June, which is hoped will ‘ensure the continued, efficient delivery of the day-to-day running of the TAB.’

RITA will advertise for the role of CEO TAB NZ immediately and aims to have a new permanent appointment in place by 1 July 2020.

Earlier this year, RITA secured a new deal which saw Flutter Entertainment’s Australian market subsidiary Sportsbet launch live streaming of races in a move to drive new audience engagements.

Under the terms of the partnership, Sportsbet agreed to host live streams of NZ thoroughbred and harness racing fixtures, with further coverage of greyhound racing events, which is broadcast across Sportsbet wagering properties.

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