Brian Kavanagh will leave his role as chief executive officer of Horse Racing Ireland at the end of his current contract in September.
Kavanagh has held the position for 20 years – and HRI, which is the commercial semi-state body responsible for the overall governance, development, promotion and administration of thoroughbred racing in Ireland, will begin a recruitment campaign on Friday.
HRI chairman Nicky Hartery said: “I would like to thank Brian Kavanagh for 20 years of incredible service and deep commitment to Horse Racing Ireland and to the industry in Ireland.
“Brian was the first CEO of Horse Racing Ireland when appointed in 2001 – and during his time, he has played a huge role in Irish racing and breeding, enabling it to become a leader on the global stage while domestically overseeing the growth of a vital rural-based industry.
“His knowledge and expertise, at home and abroad, will no doubt ensure that Brian will continue to play a significant part in the industry, and we wish him well.”
Kavanagh added: “It has been a privilege to serve as chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland and to work under three different chairmen who each promoted a strategic vision for the Irish horse racing and breeding industries.
“It is a sector full of variety and of really talented people, and I have nothing but good memories of the projects and people that I have dealt with on the way. I would like to pay particular tribute to the board members and staff of Horse Racing Ireland, past and present, whose commitment and dedication to the improvement of the industry has been a constant during my time as chief executive.”
Irish-trained horses dominated this year’s Cheltenham Festival, providing 23 of the 28 winners at the four-day meeting.
Kavanagh added: “Last week was a good week for racing, but we cannot rest on our laurels – and there is much work to do between now and September.
“While Brexit and Covid-19 are currently providing significant challenges, there are wonderful opportunities facing the sector also. Our horses and our people are our greatest strength.”