Charles Named COO of MEC
Photo: Benoit
Santa Anita Park president and chief executive officer Ron Charles has taken on additional duties with the parent company of the racetrack after accepting an appointment as chief operating officer of Magna Entertainment Corp., it was announced Jan. 7.

Charles, who is also the executive director of the racing company’s MEC California division, will be responsible for all operational aspects of MEC's business units, including horseracing, gaming, XpressBet.com, AmTote International and MEC's investments in TrackNet Media, and HRTV, a news release said.

"I look forward to taking on this new position," Charles said in the statement released by MEC. "The next year or so will be crucial in the development of MEC, and I am confident that I can play an important role in its future success.

“(MEC founder) Frank Stronach has put together an excellent management team and I look forward to working with them and other industry stakeholders to address our current challenges and those that lie ahead."

Charles joined MEC in 2004, assuming his role as executive director of MEC California, a position he will retain. Charles is a long-time owner and breeder of Thoroughbred race horses, and is a former chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

"I am very pleased that Ron has accepted the chief operating officer position, and taken on the added responsibilities that go along with it,” said Stronach, who currently serves as MEC’s chairman and interim chief executive officer, in the release. “I have had a chance to work with Ron for a number of years now and he has my complete confidence."

Stronach also noted that "we remain focused on working to improve MEC's operating results while executing our debt elimination plan."

MEC, which reported it was about $586 million in debt in its last financial statements filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, last year announced a plan to raise up to $700 million in debt-reducing capital by selling improved and unimproved property it holds.

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