Stiassny goes from racing board

Insolvency specialist Michael Stiassny, brought in to clean up racing's tarnished image, has been replaced as New Zealand Racing Board chairman

Auckland-based Stiassny was picked in December 2006 by then-racing minister Winston Peters to head the board, replacing Warren Larsen, who was not reappointed at the time after losing the support of the thoroughbred code.

“Mr Stiassny will bring a fresh approach to the challenges facing the industry now and in the future. He has considerable leadership experience on the boards of a number of publicly listed companies,"  Mr Peters in a release at the time of Mr Stiassny’s appointment.

"This is an important time for the racing industry. The benefits of the new tax regime are beginning to be felt, and it is vital that the board, as the industry leader, shows the necessary leadership to unite the codes and see through initiatives that will further revitalise all forms of racing in New Zealand.” 

The appointment ran for three years and in 2009 he was reappointed by then-racing minister John Carter, who said the reappointment was as a result of consultation with the racing industry.

Mr Stiassny’s second term ends on July 31 and racing minister Nathan Guy, who congratulated Mr Stiassny for his work, has just announced he will not serve a third term.

Dr Alan Jackson has been appointed new independent chairman.

Other board appointments are Greg McCarthy, Rod Croon, Graham Cooney and Alistair Ryan.

The announcement comes at the time a Wellington High Court jury is deliberating in a defamation case against the racing board.

First Sovereign Trust, its trustees and founder are seeking $750,000 in damages after the racing board issued a statement on November 26, 2010, in a bid to put its side after an NBR article focused on "pub pokie fraud".

First Sovereign Trust was cleared of charges brought by the Department of Internal Affairs, but lawyer Peter McKnight argued the use of words such as "pub pokie fraud" in the same release as the trust’s name associated it with an allegation of misappropriation.

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