Magna Entertainment Corp. announced Thursday that Joseph A. DeFrancis has been appointed as a director of the company, effective immediately. DeFrancis is currently an Executive Vice-President of MEC and Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. In addition, DeFrancis is a member of Magna Entertainment Corp.'s executive management committee and is Frank Stronach's principal advisor on all technology and distribution initiatives. "Over the years, Joe has made an enormous contribution to the horse racing industry and to Magna Entertainment, in particular, and we are delighted that he has taken on this new role," said Frank Stronach, chairman of MEC. "Given Joe's vast knowledge of both Magna Entertainment and the racing industry, we feel he is the perfect fit for our Board. On behalf of the directors of Magna Entertainment, I welcome Joe to the board." DeFrancis stated, "It has been a pleasure working with everyone at Magna Entertainment and watching the company evolve. I am thrilled about the direction in which Magna Entertainment is headed and look forward to being a part of this exciting time."
In November 2002, Magna Entertainment bought a controlling interest in the Maryland Jockey Club, which was previously controlled by the DeFrancis family. Maryland Jockey Club is the owner of Laurel Park and historic Pimlico, the home of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, DeFrancis has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club since August 1989. Prior to that, DeFrancis practiced law with the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, a Los Angeles-based firm, where he specialized in antitrust law, including litigation and merger and acquisition work. DeFrancis graduated from UCLA School of Law with a J.D. Degree (1982), UCLA Graduate School of Management with an M.B.A. Degree in Business Economics (1982), and Stanford University with an A.B. Degree in Political Science (1977).DeFrancis has served on the boards of directors of numerous industry, civic and charitable organizations, including the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Board of Trustees of Loyola College, and the Baltimore Symphony. DeFrancis currently serves on the Johns Hopkins Heart Institute Board of Governors, and the Boards of Directors of Triple Crown Productions, the Maryland Million and the Signal 13 Foundation. DeFrancis belongs to the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association in an inactive status membership.