Jockey Club Racecourses restructure likely to mean job losses

Jockey Club Racecourses is to undertaking a major restructuring of its operation over the next 18 months, which could lead to job losses within the organisation.

At the moment, each of its 14 courses operates as a separate enterprise, although corporate activities such as HR, finance and information services are centralised. The new structure will have four regions, each of three or four tracks, with one of the courses operating as a hub for the region. In effect this introduces a new layer of management, as the manager at the hub racecourse will become a regional director, positioned between the individual racecourse managers and Paul Fisher, JCR’s group managing director.

Setting out the rationale for the changes, Simon Balzagette, Jockey Club chief executive said, “Courses aren’t being centralised, because each has local significance, but there are a number of ways of achieving better synergies by working across the group, regionally or centrally. Our in-house catering has proved the point, and there are other examples of partnerships that have worked far better than if courses were involved individually.”

That doesn’t sound terribly convincing to me, and the picture wasn’t clearer when he added, “It’s to increase sales and reduce costs, and to roll out the Jockey Club brand across the group.” It seems to be reducing costs = reducing people, but at the moment there’s no indication of how JCR will set about this.

The Regional structure has been decided, and priority in the new order of things will be to appoint the four Regional directors. Amy Starkey looks sure to be confirmed in the post in the East, as she moved to Newmarket, the hub course, just a couple of weeks ago. In the South West, it will be the replacement for Edward Gillespie at Cheltenham. But in the other two regions, the North West and London, it’s less apparent, as JCR have yet to decide which course will become the hub.

Whilst the rank and file workers wait to find out about their future, JCR is creating two new senior posts, a brand director, and a betting director. How many junior jobs will go to fund these, I wonder?

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