Alan Marzelli, chairman of Equibase since 1997, will step down from that position at the end of the year, it was announced Oct. 1. He will be succeeded by Nick Nicholson, the president and chief executive officer of Keeneland Association and a longtime member of the Equibase Management Committee.
Nicholson will become only the third chairman in Equibase’s 20-year history, following Marzelli and James E. “Ted” Bassett III.
Marzelli, together with Jockey Club colleagues Nicholson, Hans Stahl, and David Haydon, crafted the original business plan for Equibase and then played a lead role in the negotiation of the partnership between The Jockey Club and member racetracks of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America.
After the formation of the company, Marzelli served the partnership in several key capacities through the years. He was treasurer until April 1996, when he was appointed president. He was named chairman approximately 18 months later, succeeding Bassett.
In that role, he negotiated the perpetual license agreement between Equibase and Daily Racing Form that for the first time in history provided the Thoroughbred racetracks of North America with a uniform, industry–owned database of racing information and statistics.
“Alan’s long association and stewardship of Equibase will serve as a classic model for Nick to follow, for his creative and loyal commitment to the best interests of the racing industry,” Bassett said in a release. “Under Alan’s leadership Equibase has continually expanded and enhanced the services it provides. Few have served as well and with such distinction, and Nick is cut from the same timber.”
Nicholson, who has served on the Equibase management committee since 1990, will step into his new role as chairman at the December meeting of the management committee.
“I can’t think of a more suitable candidate than Nick to serve as Equibase’s next chairman,” Marzelli said in a statement. “He has been an important part of Equibase from day one, and he has always operated with the best interests of the industry in mind.”
“I am humbled and honored to serve in this role.” Nicholson said in a release. “Alan was there in the beginning, and he not only recognized the importance of an industry-owned database but was able to translate the concept into an effective business model. Then, over the last two decades as technologies developed he transformed the business accordingly. Racing will miss his leadership.”