Louis Romanet will retire as chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in October, and will be succeeded by Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, who was elected by the IFHA's executive council. Romanet has served as chairman of the IFHA since its inception in 1994 in Paris. Going forward, the IFHA will be supported by a global management team that will be announced in October.
The IFHA executive council also elected four Vice Chairs: Jockey Club President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Gagliano and outgoing Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh were re-elected as the vice chairs for the Americas and Europe, respectively. Japan Racing Association Chief Executive Officer Masayuki Goto was elected as the new vice chair for Asia, replacing Engelbrecht-Bresges who formerly served in that role, and Horacio Esposito, advisor in international affairs for South American governing body OSAF, was elected as a new vice chair.
Romanet, who has been appointed to the honorary position of chairman emeritus, said, “It has been an honour, a privilege, and a pleasure to serve as the IFHA's chairman since its beginning in March 1994,” said Romanet. “After 27 years in the chair, I am proud of the development of our great sport and its growth all over the world. It is time for me to step down in favor of new generations of leaders, and I am confident that our next chair and vice-chairs, working alongside the Federation's Executive Council, will successfully progress the IFHA and international horse racing. I would like to warmly congratulate Winfried on his appointment to the role of IFHA chairman. I am certain that he will bring the vision, energy and outstanding leadership qualities necessary to take racing's global body to the next level into the future.”
Engelbrecht-Bresges, who has been chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club since 2007, the IFHA's vice chairman in Asia and chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, said, “There is nobody who can replicate the remarkable and sustained contribution to the IFHA which Louis has achieved. Louis has dedicated his working life to the advancement of racing. He has been a champion for the internationalization of racing and has worked over many years to set and promote the conditions necessary to support international competition. He has also had an unwavering commitment to prohibited substance-free racing, particularly through major reforms to Article 6 of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering.
“Louis was instrumental in initiating recent enhancements to the governance of the IFHA. In doing so, he has overseen the establishment of a more globally-integrated, modern organisation which will draw on the wealth of expertise, talent and experience from our membership, and yet remain anchored in Paris as the spiritual home of the IFHA. This has set a strong platform for the IFHA and our members to meet the challenges of a globalized, dramatically changing world. I am truly honoured to be appointed as Louis' successor and the second chair of the IFHA.”