TDN's Ten Questions for Olivier Delloye, Now Back at Arqana

Olivier Delloye | Scoop Dyga

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After seven years at the helm of France-Galop, the governing body of horse racing in France, Olivier Delloye arrived back at Arqana, and will take up the position of CEO upon the retirement of Eric Hoyeau on April 1.

For Delloye, it's a homecoming, as he served for 10 years as their managing director before leaving to fill the same role at France-Galop in 2016. As Delloye got started again at Arqana, we sat down with him to learn what it was like to be back in Normandy, and what differences the buying and selling public could expect to see this year and beyond.

TDN: First, what's it like to be back?

OD: I'm very happy to be back–both back here and in the sales business and connecting with the community of buyers and vendors alike. And I'm really looking forward to the next sale and of course, the August yearling sale, which is, and has always been, the highlight of the of the year.

TDN: What was the thing you missed the most about this job when you were at France-Galop?

OD: Definitely it was going to farms, inspecting yearlings in spring, meeting with vendors and breeders and driving back to the office thinking that you may have seen the future stars of the sale.

TDN: And what is it about France-Galop that you'll miss the most now that you're back at Arqana?

OD: It's all about people. So probably the great people I have had the chance to work with and who tolerated me for about eight years. Luckily, now that I'm back, I'm finding a great team here as well.

TDN: What is your ideal work-life balance?

OD: It's a very difficult question. I would say it's close to ideal when both your colleagues and clients on one side and your family and friends on the other side feel that you give them enough time and attention. That's when you're close to perfection. But it never happens.

TDN: What changes at Arqana can we expect this year and beyond?

OD: It's a little bit early to ask me that question. I'm just coming back now. But I am coming back at a time when the company is enjoying quite a great success, so there's no need for a big revolution in the very short term. Probably the first changes that will be implemented will be purely internal, in order to make the organization ever more efficient and enable the team to have a greater focus on the horses and the clients. I'm sure there are some areas in which we can improve upon the way we operate, in the processes that are in place, so that really people can focus on their main job and on our clients.

TDN: I see there is some work going on here.

OD: Yes. The first thing, which is good news for all the people attending the sales, is there will be a brand new WiFi system as of the breeze-up sale. Over the next few weeks, another thing we are undergoing is that we are renovating the main yard at Arqana in the sales complex. We are actually currently raising the roofs (on the stalls) of the main yard to just provide some more comfort to horses staying in these boxes during the sales. We will do that in three phases and the first phase will be completed by the summer.

TDN: How did your experience at France-Galop change or broaden your view of the overall industry?

OD: I was born in the horse world as my father was a trainer and then was more involved in the institution and the ruling of racing. And then I went to work for Arqana for 10 years. Going to France-Galop was definitely the right place to go to deal with all aspects of the industry, with France-Galop being the racing authority and the operator of the major racing in France as well. So dealing with gambling with the PMU, dealing with the ministries in charge of supervising racing, dealing with anti-doping control, dealing with riding schools, but also how to run big, big events, like we do at France-Galop with the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Prix Diane Longines and so on. So it was just a perfect place to learn so many things. And, during all those years, I also had the chance to be involved in the IFHA, working alongside with Louis Romanet first and then Winfriend Engelbrecht-Bresges and its leadership team. So it really opened new doors to me as well, being exposed to other racing jurisdictions and understanding the big issues that racing can face on a global scale.

 

TDN: What did you learn there that you can apply here?

OD: Event organization is something that I probably learned quite a lot about working at France-Galop. But above all, I would say that at France-Galop, because of all it has to run with a fairly limited number of employees-there are only 350 people working full-time. It operates five racecourses, three training centres, and is a racing authority in France. It has to be a pretty well-organized company. So I'm sure that in trying to replicate a bit of that know-how in terms of process and organization in a much smaller company like Arqana, I can help it be even faster and move more quickly and be more efficient.

TDN: Your successor-and predecessor–Eric Hoyeau–was known to take to the microphone. Do you have any intention of doing the same?

OD: You mean at the rostrum? No plan at all. I did ask myself this question years ago when I first worked with Arqana. Now, I'm not sure I have the right talent for the job. And I see my role as just making sure that we have the best people everywhere in the place, to offer the best possible service. So we'll try to, enhance the quality of our auctioneers, to better serve our clients. But, I'm not necessarily one of them.

TDN: Paris or Deauville?

OD: I couldn't answer. It's like choosing between my my sons or my my daughters.

TDN: Le Drakkar, or Le Buddha Bar?

OD: Le Drakkar. Definitely.

TDN: Bike ride in the Bois de Boulogne, or jogging on Les Planches?

OD: Jogging on Les Planches. But also a little further, because it's too short.

TDN: Traffic jam on the Peripherique or tractors blocking the A13?

OD: Traffic jam on the Peripherique. There is always an exit nearby to escape from it.

TDN: Is there anyone in the French government you feel you resemble?

OD: I've often heard people say I look a little bit like Emmanuel Macron. And I've always answered that my wife is much younger.

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