Former BT exec appointed as Jockey Club CEO

The Jockey Club has named former BT Sport and Sky executive Delia Bushell as its group chief executive.

The British horseracing organisation stages high-profile events such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National and The Derby.

Bushell joins the Jockey Club from BT Group, where she was managing director of its TV and sport division, overseeing the firm’s sport channels, Pay TV platform and digital services. She also led the acquisition of premium sports and entertainment rights, such as the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Premiership Rugby, FA Cup, MotoGP and The Ashes.

Prior to BT, she worked as the chief commercial officer of Sky Italia, director of broadband and telephony for Sky UK and managing director of Sky Ireland. Most recently, she was UK chief executive and European chief operating officer at Afiniti, a US tech company that is a leader in artificial intelligence.

Bushell said: “I’m excited and honoured to lead this iconic institution. Racing is such an important part of British national life and I’m looking forward to working with the talented team at The Jockey Club and wider industry stakeholders to drive its future success.

“The years to come will be critical for the sport, as we embrace the opportunities and challenges of innovating for fans and racegoers, appealing to new and more diverse audiences, broadening revenue streams, and driving inward investment. I’m looking forward to immersing myself fully into the world of racing and using my wider experience in sport and media to help deliver these goals.”

Bushell will join the organisation in early September and, following a period of handover, succeed current group chief executive Simon Bazalgette when he stands down in October.

Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of The Jockey Club, said: “With Delia’s experience at the top of media, sport, technology and business management, we are delighted she will join us as our new Group Chief Executive. The Jockey Club has a talented team in place, so we needed to make a first-class appointment to lead the group. Over the months and years ahead under Delia’s leadership I am confident The Jockey Club will go from strength-to-strength in order to benefit our sport.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Simon Bazalgette for all he has done for The Jockey Club and our sport over his 11-year tenure. His leadership helped us to grow commercial revenues significantly, enabling us to return record sums back to British Racing.

“We have improved our facilities considerably, none more so than our flagship £45 million development at Cheltenham. His vision was pivotal to a range of achievements by the industry, including the growth of media rights value, our terrestrial broadcast relationship with ITV, Levy Reform and the creation of QIPCO British Champions Day.”

Bushell is also a non-executive director of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and of Commonwealth Games England, and is on the advisory board of The Telegraph Media Group.