John R. Long, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Churchill Downs Inc., has accepted the newly-created position of chief executive officer for the United States Equestrian Federation.
Long's resignation and new position were announced Thursday by Thomas H. Meeker, CDI's president and chief executive officer. Long will assume his new duties with the USEF on Dec. 1.
"John Long has been a tremendous asset to CDI, and we appreciate the leadership he provided during an important chapter in our company's history," said Meeker. "His operations expertise was invaluable as we integrated new racing operations into our larger company. John also played an important role in CDI's strategic planning process and legislative initiatives. As an executive and as a horseman, John is perfectly suited for this new role. We will certainly miss his contributions to our team, but we understand his desire to take on another important challenge and wish him continued success."
Meeker said Long's successor has not been selected and that that the company would consider both internal and external candidates for the position and name a replacement shortly.
Long will oversee all aspects of the newly formed USEF, which was fashioned through the combination of the United States Equestrian Team and USA Equestrian. Those two organizations manage, coordinate and provide oversight for national and international equestrian sport competitions, including the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping and vaulting, according to the announcement, which noted the United States Olympic Committee is expected to designate the newly formed USEF as the national governing body for equestrian sports. Long will work with David J. O'Connor, an Olympic Gold Medal winner who has been named president of the USEF.
"When I joined Churchill Downs Incorporated as chief operating officer four years ago, I knew that I had been given an incredible opportunity," Long said. "I am thankful to have played a role in the Company's continued growth, especially during a time when CDI acquired and merged with some of the nation's most esteemed racing companies. Working with the CDI management team and a dedicated group of racetrack presidents to assimilate these diverse operations into one cohesive company was a great professional challenge, and I am grateful to have played a part in positioning CDI, its racetracks and off- track betting facilities for the future.
"I have now been presented with another irresistible opportunity to lead an organization whose mission melds perfectly with my own personal passion for equestrian sports. I look forward to working with David O'Connor, an internationally acclaimed horseman, as we lead the USEF in its efforts to govern and promote some of the world's most important sporting events. I greatly value the experience and perspective I gained as one of CDI's executive officers, and I will treasure the time I spent under the Twin Spires."