Incoming racing club CEO Russ Atkinson will have a minor track upgrade on his mind during his first three months in the job.
Incoming racing club CEO Russ Atkinson will have a minor track upgrade on his mind during his first three months in the job.

Coffs race club appoints CEO

By GREG WHITE and BRAD GREENSHIELDS

COFFS Harbour Racing Club's search for a new chief executive is over with the appointment of experienced sporting and business administrator Russ Atkinson.

"We had a good bunch of candidates in for the job but Russ was the standout," club chairman Alan Johnson said.

"Over the next couple of weeks he'll be organising his transfer and we should have him ready to take the reins at the holiday race meeting on December 29."

For the past four and a half years Atkinson has been group general manager of Goulburn Murray Racing in northern Victoria in charge of clubs at Echuca, Mansfield, Gunbower, Seymour and Tatura-Shepparton.

"Russ brings a wealth of experience to the club with his former position putting him in charge of the conduct of 33 race meetings each year," chief administrator Greg Doolan said.

"He holds a Bachelor of Business degree and is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

"For 22 years he's been deeply involved in the business, management and promotion of racing."

Alan Johnson said his committee had been 'winging it' since Sherryn Tutt stepped down from her role as CEO.

"There's a great staff working here who know their jobs back to front and they've all stepped up to the plate," he said.

"Particularly our events manager Simon Chladil who kept things ticking over, and Vashi Stewart, who's going to be a major loss now she's moved on."

The chairman said the club looks certain to have picked up an extra race date over summer.

"We didn't bid for it but the calendar shows the Grafton meeting on January 18 has been allocated to us," Johnson said.

"After that's complete we have a window of three months until the next date on April 1 where we can do organise some necessary work on the racing surface."

Atkinson said yesterday that he can't wait to make the move up north to take up his new role.

"We're really looking forward to moving up, the timing of the move presents a challenge but it's exciting," he said.

"It all started in August when my wife and I went up to Coffs Harbour and we fell in love with the place and thought 'wouldn't it be good if a racing opportunity come up' and lo and behold it did. We were told about it, threw our hat in the ring and now we're really looking forward to moving up."



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