RITA Appoints Interim Executive

Elouise Spencer - 12 December 2019

The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) in New Zealand has announced that it will appoint current chairperson, Dean McKenzie, to the position of interim executive director at the end of this year. McKenzie will step in to fill the gap left by John Allen, who announced in September this year that he will be stepping down at the end of 2019 after five years in the position for first TAB, and then RITA.

McKenzie will serve in the role for six months until RITA gives way to the refreshed TAB NZ racing and sports betting agency comes into being on 1 July 2020. Stephen Henry, who is the chief operating officer for RITA, will also support him. McKenzie will serve as both chairperson and interim executive director, while Henry’s operational duties will expand to assist with the workload.

Advertising For Chief Of TAB NZ

Since it is only six months before TAB NZ is due to take over from RITA, there seemed little point in officially hiring and appointing a new chief executive for the sports betting agency. However, the government is currently advertising the position of chief executive for TAB NZ, which will need to be filled by 1 July 2020. This is to ensure as smooth a transition as possible between the two authority bodies when the new Racing Industry Bill is enacted.

In a statement made to the press about their new interim chief, RITA said that they are confident that the organisation will maintain their momentum now that they have stabilised the leadership. It was the logical choice to shuffle things internally at this critical time in order to provide continuity when it comes to the management of operations in the organisation. McKenzie, however, has stated that he will not be a candidate for the permanent position of chief executive of the sports betting agency. What role he will play, if any, in the new organisation is unclear at this time.

Big Changes For The NZ Industry

New Zealand has been making big changes to their racing and sports betting industry, with the aim of bringing it up to the highest international standards. This resulted in a new Bill being drafted, which was accepted by parliament earlier this year. The Racing Industry Bill has two steps for enactment.

The first was the creation of RITA earlier in 2019 in order to give the country the ability to completely change up their regulations. The second step will be the formation of the new version of TAB NZ. This will take over from RITA in July 2020, and will have far greater authority then either of its predecessors.