Schmitt, who joined Churchill Downs as director of publicity in 1987, became head of the new corporate communications department two years later and has served the organization as senior vice president, communications since March 1998. In January 2002, he assumed his new role as chief operating officer for CDSN.
Robert Decker, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Churchill Downs Inc., and president of the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network, is leaving to pursue other career opportunities, the company announced Dec. 16.In other moves, Michael Miller, senior vice president of finance, will be promoted to chief financial officer, and Karl Schmitt Jr., chief operating officer of CDSN, will be promoted to president of the subsidiary. Miller and Schmitt will assume their new responsibilities at the time of Decker's departure on Jan. 1, 2003."We have accelerated our succession plans for Mike Miller and Karl Schmitt to engage these new roles in order to accommodate Bob's decision to take early retirement," Churchill Downs Inc. president Tom Meeker said.Decker has served as CDI's executive vice president and chief financial officer since 1997. He managed the acquisitions of Ellis Park, Calder Race Course and Hollywood Park, as well as the merger with Arlington International Racecourse. Decker also guided the company's listing on the Nasdaq National Market in 1997, directed its secondary stock offering in 1999, and most recently, managed the January 2002 spin-off of CDSN as a separate operating unit."I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the six years since Ijoined CDI's executive management team," said Decker. "We have increased our market capitalization by 360 percent, completed strategic mergers and acquisitions that have positively impacted our balance sheet, recruited an impressive stable of racing properties to market under the CDSN banner and established our brand as the most recognized and highly desired brand in the racing industry."Said Meeker: "Bob has been instrumental in leading this Company through a consolidation effort that has helped cement CDI's status as the industry leader offering the highest-quality racing content."He directed a focused, disciplined acquisition strategy that grew the Company from two racetracks to six and positioned it for future growth in areas such as alternative gaming and domestic and international account wagering.In Miller's new role as chief financial officer, he will oversee the finance, human resources, and information technology departments. He will report directly to Meeker, who will also assume oversight of the company's development initiatives.