The governing Board of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), at a meeting Thursday, moved quickly and decisively in naming Steve Lehman as its new Executive Director. The appointment is contingent on a contract agreement and will become effective on Oct. 31, 2012 when current CEO John Blakney retires.
Commission Chair, Rod Seiling, in making the announcement on behalf of the Board stated, "We remain optimistic that horse racing in Ontario, notwithstanding the announced conclusion of the slots program on March 31, 2013, will evolve into a sustainable and competitive business well into the foreseeable future. To help facilitate that transformation, the Board was of the view that it was incumbent that the Commission continues to provide the same type of quality leadership and knowledge that John Blakney has provided these past eight years."
Given the ongoing uncertainty as to the future of the industry in the Province, the Board was of the view, that from a regulatory perspective, certainty was a requisite in the restructuring process and that there was no better candidate to be found than Mr. Lehman. Serving as the Commission's Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Lehman has provided demonstrated exceptional insight into the workings of the industry. His proven leadership abilities will serve the Commission well as it will need to restructure itself to align with the service requirements of Ontario's "new" horse racing industry come April 1, 2013.
"We are sorry to lose John" concluded Seiling, "but we understand his desire to take his life in another direction and we all wish him well and thank him for his professionalism and dedication to horse racing these past eight years." Blakney has played a key role in the transformation of the Commission into a modern, transparent and fair regulator as it evolved into a recognized world leader in the regulation of horse racing." (ORC)