From press release
-- New York Racing Association chairman and Chief executive officer Barry K. Schwartz announced today a major reorganization of NYRA's management structure, including the resignation of president and COO Terry Meyocks.
Two members of the NYRA Board of Trustees, Steven Duncker and Peter Karches, were named co-chief operating officers, while J. William Byrne was named to fill a longstanding vacancy as NYRA's chief financial officer.
Under the reorganization plan, the duties of the new Co-Chief Operating Officers will be vested in the newly created "Office of the Chairman," which will be charged with coordinating the management of the organization's 18 departments and business areas. The officers of the Office of the Chairman will report directly to the Association's CEO.
According to the press release, Karches and Duncker each bring substantial financial and business experience and expertise to the newly created Office of the Chairman and each will serve full-time until the necessary skill set and ideal qualifications of a new President and COO can be assessed, and an appropriate candidate identified and hired. Neither will accept any compensation for their services. Reporting to the Office of the Chairman will be 5 Senior Vice Presidents, each of whom will have direct responsibility for several of NYRA's operating departments.
"Steven Duncker and Peter Karches will be working closely with me, the Special Oversight Committee and the rest of the NYRA Board to make sure NYRA's operations are as secure, efficient and profitable as they can be," said Schwartz. "These former private-sector executives bring a wealth of outside objectivity and business operational experience to NYRA's reorganized management team. I look forward to working with these dedicated Trustees in their new capacity and to their benefiting NYRA with their expertise."
NYRA also announced today a host of changes in the make-up and responsibilities of several of its executives:
* Current NYRA president and COO Terry Meyocks will resign from his post of President and COO to pursue other opportunities, but will continue to assist the members of the newly formed Office of the Chairman and the Racing Department until such time as his successor is identified.
* J. William Byrne will assume the post of senior vice president and chief financial officer, which has been vacant since August of 2002. Mr. Byrne will oversee all of NYRA's financial operations, including the controller, treasurer, purchasing and payroll, and human resource departments.
* Patrick Kehoe, NYRA's vice president and general counsel, will be made a senior vice president and will be in charge of NYRA's legal department as well as the Security, Pari-Mutuel, and Regulatory Compliance Departments.
* Cathleen Marino, NYRA's Vice President of Customer Relations, will be made a Senior Vice President and will be in charge of the Customer Relations Department as well as the Parking and Admissions Departments.
* William Nader will continue in his role as a Senior Vice President and will continue to be in charge of all Simulcasting and Communications, as well as picking up responsibility for OTB Relations.
Each Senior Vice President will report directly to the Office of the Chairman and the CEO. Moreover, NYRA is currently in the process of identifying candidates for a new director of security and a new director of internal audit.
"The changes announced today in NYRA's senior management structure contains both exciting and sad news for me as CEO," said Schwartz. "On the one hand, I'm excited to have the new corporate structure in place and the selfless dedication of both Steven and Peter that will absolutely ensure that NYRA's business practices are on a par with its racing practices, which are unquestionably the best in the country. On the other hand, the decision of Terry Meyocks to pursue other business opportunities will leave a tremendous void at NYRA that will be extremely difficult to fill. No one knows New York racing like Terry; no one cares about New York racing like Terry; and no has ever given more of himself to New York racing than Terry Meyocks."
The changes announced today are part of NYRA's ongoing effort to work with state and federal officials to heighten controls, eliminate areas of potential abuse, and increase overall profitability. Today's announcement builds upon a number of steps NYRA has taken in recent months to strengthen its business practices and improve overall corporate accountability, including:
* In July of 2003, the NYRA Board of Trustees announced the formation of a Special Oversight Committee, chaired by Stuart Subotnick, a NYRA Trustee appointed by Governor Pataki, to oversee all aspects of NYRA's business practices in order to ensure that NYRA operates in the most efficient manner with the highest possible level of corporate governance.
* Also in July of 2003, the NYRA Board of Trustees retained the security firm SafirRosetti to work with The Special Oversight Committee to evaluate and make recommendations concerning NYRA's security operations, cash handling, supervisory training and other procedures of the organization.
Subotnick and SafirRosetti will work in tandem with the new management team to make sure SafirRosetti's and the newly created Office of the Chairman's recommendations are thoroughly and effectively implemented.
Duncker is a retired Goldman Sachs Partner and a Managing Director at the firm. Currently a thoroughbred owner and breeder, Mr. Duncker received his B. A. in Economics from Duke University and his Masters in Finance from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. In addition to the NYRA Board, Mr. Duncker is a trustee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
"My first priority will be to work with Barry to ensure that NYRA is a well-run, efficient organization that fulfills the mandate given to it by the State of New York to positively contribute to the state's economy through its pari-mutuel tax, real estate and admissions taxes," Duncker said. "I'm looking forward to tackling head-on the challenges NYRA faces and working with the team."
Karches retired from Morgan Stanley after a 25 year-career, served on the Management Committee of Morgan Stanley and was the President and Chief Operating Officer of its Institutional Securities and Investment Banking Group. Prior to the merger with Dean Witter Securities, he was President of Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. Mr. Karches is a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is a trustee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. He is also a trustee of Georgetown University and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
"I will be working closely with the management team and department heads to improve operations at Belmont Park, Saratoga, and Aqueduct Racetracks, as well as New York OTB outlets," Karches said. "I believe that my outside business experience will be extremely useful in dealing with the issues confronting NYRA and moving forward to achieve our business objectives."
Byrne is a management executive with extensive experience in areas of finance, accounting and risk management. In 1992, Mr. Byrne became the CFO of CM Offray & Son, Inc., a multinational textile company. In that capacity, he directed the financial and operation activities of 100 retail stores, 3 manufacturing facilities and a joint venture in China. From 1998 until just recently, Byrne served as the Vice-President of Finance of the Industrial Products Group of Itochu International Inc., the North American subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation, the eighteenth largest company in the world.