Powell, who was Youbet’s vice president of public affairs, leaves after a three-year stint with the company, which saw its chairman and chief executive officer, Charles Champion, resign last November. Others to exit Youbet in recent months include company founder and former CEO David Marshall, who resigned as vice-chairman in October, and board director Joseph Barletta, who resigned from his post in November.
In a Feb. 26 statement, Powell called his departure “amicable and mutual,” but alluded to a corporate overhaul at Youbet consistent with other U.S. companies experiencing change.
“The restructuring and downsizing going on at Youbet right now is being considered in the face of the many obstacles and challenges ever-present when running an independent and publicly-held ADW during these hyper-competitive times,” Powell said in the statement.
Powell, who joined Youbet after a four-year stint as president and CEO of the Racing Commissioners International, said later in a telephone interview that his departure wasn't related in any way to an ongoing federal investigation that led to the Feb. 15 shuttering of Youbet’s off-shore rebate shop, International Racing Group.
“It had nothing to do with it,” said Powell, who also has served in executive positions with Magna Entertainment, Santa Anita Park, and Turf Paradise, among others. “It has everything to do with downsizing and restructuring. There is absolutely no relationship there.”
Powell also said Champion’s exit as the company’s leader played no bearing on his departure.
“I was recruited heavily by Chuck to work for Youbet,” Powell said. “He captured my interest with his vision and enthusiasm; working with him was one of the highlights of my career.”
A call to ICR, the Connecticut investor’s relations firm that comments on Youbet’s behalf, wasn’t immediately returned.
Shares of Youbet stock have dropped 76% in the last calendar year, falling from $3.45 on Feb. 25, 2007 to 83 cents in mid-day trading Feb. 26. The stock price had closed under $1 for 13 of the last 14 trading days.
Powell said he has some leads on new employment opportunities, but is looking at all possible offers.
“I’m equally excited about opportunities that may be out there that I am not yet aware of and I hope will come to my attention now that I am actually available to potential new employers and/or clients,” he said in the statement.
In addition to his executive posts, Powell has also served on several director boards, including the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. His resume includes notice of stints as an assistant starter, jockey valet, groundskeeper, and racing official. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona and the school’s Race Track Industry Program.