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People on the move: BHA, NBA, Aintree and more

British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington has been unveiled as the new head of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

Harrington (pictured left) will take up the position at the start of 2021 after almost four years at British Cycling. She is a former member of the BHA board and was a senior executive at Northern Racing for eight years, which included a spell as managing director of Uttoxeter Racecourse.

Harrington has also served as operations director for the English Football Association (FA), where she was responsible for Wembley Stadium and the St George’s Park training facility. Earlier in her career, Harrington worked as a regional marketing director for restaurant chain Whitbread Inns and as retail sector director for British Airways.

Harrington will join the BHA on January 4 after completing her notice period at British Cycling. Nick Rust will continue to lead the BHA as it works with industry bodies on the resumption and recovery of horse racing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elsewhere in horse racing, Nicholas Wrigley will succeed the late Rose Paterson as chairman of Aintree Racecourse, the site of the Grand National.

Wrigley served as senior steward (chairman) of The Jockey Club, which runs Aintree, between 2009 and 2014, having been named as a Jockey Club member in 1994. He currently serves as chairman of investment bank N M Rothschild & Sons Limited.

Since 2019, Wrigley has also been chairman of The National Stud in Newmarket, which is also owned by The Jockey Club. Additionally, he has been on the York Race Committee since 1992 and served as chairman from 2005 to 2011, while he is also a director of Pontefract Racecourse.

Following his appointment, Wrigley paid tribute to Paterson, who passed away in June.

“I would like to start by paying tribute to Rose, who displayed such outstanding leadership and passion during her tenure as chairman of Aintree Racecourse,” he said. “It was a great honour to serve on the Aintree Committee with Rose as she showed huge enthusiasm and commitment to Aintree and the community.

“The Randox Health Grand National is the greatest jump race in the world and I look forward to supporting The Jockey Club team at Aintree to deliver a thrilling three-day festival in April 2021 and build on the outstanding work that has been achieved with the local and racing communities.”

The NBA basketball league has named Victor Williams (pictured right) as chief executive of NBA Africa.

Williams will assume the newly-created role on August 17 and will be based in the league’s Johannesburg office. He will report to NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum.

Williams is an experienced investment banking executive and has helped grow businesses across the US and Africa.

As chief executive of NBA Africa, Williams will oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives on the continent. He will also be responsible for furthering the growth of the league through grassroots development, media distribution, corporate partnerships and more.

Williams has spent the last five years serving as executive head of corporate and investment banking in Africa regions for Standard Bank Group. He previously worked at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina as managing director with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, and prior to that served as vice-president of investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York City.

US esports company Activision Blizzard has announced Tony Petitti as president of sports and entertainment, effective from August 17.

Petitti most recently worked at Major League Baseball as deputy commissioner of business and media, and chief operating officer. He led the league’s marketing, broadcasting and media rights sales, the MLB Network, digital content, youth programming and special events.

In his new role, Petitti will report to Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick and oversee esports, consumer products, and film and television.

Petitti is a 13-time Emmy winner and before joining MLB he served as executive vice-president and executive producer at CBS Sports, where he was responsible for sports programming and production.

Maryann Turcke has stepped down from her role as chief operating officer of the NFL American football league.

Turcke will take up an advisory role with the NFL at the end of the month. Turcke joined the league in 2017 and served as president of NFL Network before becoming chief operating officer the following year.

In a memo to staff obtained by sports business news website Sportico, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “In her new role as Executive Advisor to the Commissioner, Maryann will initially focus on the workplace and operations of the future – thinking about the lessons we have learned over the past several months and how our workplace and business operations can change to meet the challenges ahead.

“I am delighted to know that we will have the benefit of Maryann’s experience and strategic thinking as we start the NFL’s second century.”

Do you have news of an appointment that we should know about? Get in touch by emailing news.editor@thestadiumbusiness.com and we’ll include it in our next round-up.

Images: BHA/NBA