McClain Promoted to NYRA Executive VP and COO

NYRA hired McClain in 2009 as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The New York Racing Association announced Oct. 5 that Ellen McClain has been promoted to the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer.

McClain was hired by NYRA in July 2009 as senior vice president and chief financial officer. In that position, she restructured the finance organization to better meet the financial reporting, cash management, and compliance demands of NYRA, a complex organization with three facilities, secure wagering operations, and an extensive simulcast television network.

“In her two years with NYRA, Ellen has become a key member of the senior management team and has developed a deep appreciation and knowledge of thoroughbred racing,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward in a statement. “Her superlative analytical abilities and management skills will help us take advantage of the great opportunities we have to transform the business and result in the best racing experience for all industry stakeholders.”

From 2004 to 2009, McClain served as the vice president of finance for Hearst-Argyle Television, a publicly traded group operator of 29 local television stations. She boasts a 20-year track record in media finance and operations, including board membership with the Media Financial Management Association and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University.

“Now that long-term funding from video lottery terminals will soon be available, NYRA is in a position to pursue its growth strategy and make substantial improvements and investments in the racing program,” McClain said in a release. “This is a time of great opportunity for NYRA, one of the most enduring sports franchises in the nation, and I am thrilled to play a leading role in managing the company.”

From 1993 to 2004, McClain served as the senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Granite Broadcasting Corporation, a publicly-traded entrepreneurial group-owner of eight local television stations, including two top 10 market network affiliates. McClain began her career as a media lender, first at CIBC and before that, Bank of New England, N.A., where she worked with clients in the television, radio, and cable industries.