Churchill Downs Incorporated announced March 21 that William C. Carstanjen, currently the company’s chief operating officer, has been promoted to company president, effective immediately. Carstanjen, who joined CDI in July 2005 as general counsel and chief development officer, will retain his COO duties.
Robert L. Evans, the current president and chief executive officer, will be assuming the position of board chairman, effective June 16, concurrent with the planned retirement of current board chairman Carl F. Pollard. Evans will continue to serve as the company’s CEO.
In his new role, Carstanjen will have oversight of all CDI business segments, including the racing, online, and gaming operating units. Carstanjen will continue to report directly to Evans.
Evans joined CDI as its president and chief executive officer in August 2006 and has served on CDI’s board of directors since that date. According to the CDI announcement, Evans has directed CDI’s diversified growth strategy that has enabled the racetrack operating and gaming company to report continuous growth despite downturns in the global economy and the U.S. racing industry.
"It is an honor for me to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of prior chairmen such as Warner L. Jones Jr., Will Farish, and Carl Pollard who have so ably led Churchill Downs Incorporated through the defining moments that shaped our company and the Thoroughbred industry over the last few decades," Evans said in a statement. "They’ve set the standard for leadership I hope our entire management team will emulate."
Carstanjen led the company’s business development efforts, including acquisitions of the AmericaTAB companies and Bloodstock Research and Information Services, Youbet.com, and Harlow’s Casino Resort & Hotel. He also directed construction of the slot-machine gaming facilities at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and Calder Casino & Race Course.
"It has been a privilege to be part of the leadership team that charted CDI’s continued expansion and profitability in recent years, and I am proud of the team’s accomplishments," Carstanjen said.
The CDI board of directors has also appointed current director G. Watts Humphrey Jr. as lead independent director of the board. Humphrey will assume his new responsibilities June 16. Humphrey, who has served on CDI’s board of directors since 1995, is president of GWH Holdings Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Penn., and owner of Shawnee Farm near Harrodsburg, Ky.
As lead independent director, Humphrey will be responsible for board governance matters; board membership, recruiting and succession planning; committee assignments; serving as the point person for the independent directors; establishing agendas for board meetings; and serving as the main liaison between the board and chairman and chief executive Robert L. Evans, according to a release from CDI.
"I look forward to assuming this new leadership role on the board of directors and serving my fellow directors and our company’s shareholders in this capacity," Humphrey said in a statement. "Thanks to the vision, commitment, and sound choices of retiring chairman Carl Pollard, CDI is well positioned for continued growth under our new chairman-elect and his talented management team."