Edward Gillespie, Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, has announced his decision to stand down from the day-to-day management of the world-famous Gloucestershire venue after 32 years at the helm.
Mr Gillespie has run Cheltenham Racecourse since the age of 27 in one of the longest tenures in British sport. He will continue in his position until a successor is appointed and then complete a full handover period designed to ensure a smooth management transition for one of British racing's crown jewels. He will also act as a consultant to Jockey Club Racecourses on various projects, including the next stage of development at Cheltenham Racecourse, which is undergoing a feasibility study.
He said: "It has been a privilege to manage Cheltenham for 32 years and striving for the continued success of this special place has been at the centre of everything I have done in that time. Gold Cup Day this year was my 100th Festival day in charge and it was extremely satisfying that it also marked our highest ever attendance, as the climax of a tremendous season at the Racecourse.
“I’m 60 years old in July and, while part of me feels I could carry on forever, I’m conscious that my sporting heroes have bowed out at the top of their game, carrying their bats so to speak. I’ve been here for a long time, so I’d love to get involved in other projects within sport or business in the last few years of my career.
“While I’ve managed my last Cheltenham Festival, I’m in no rush; I will continue in my current position until my successor is appointed and then support him or her for as long as it takes to achieve the smoothest transition for the Racecourse.”
Robert Waley-Cohen, Chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, said: "Over the past 30 years, The Festival at Cheltenham has developed into one of the great British sporting occasions and that is largely down to the energy, enthusiasm and expertise of Edward Gillespie. He has put his heart and soul into Cheltenham Racecourse during that time and the profile and popularity that Cheltenham now enjoys is a testament to Edward's skill in understanding what people want and developing a team that can deliver it.
“That team is now in great shape to continue the success that Edward has engineered and everyone at Cheltenham and throughout the racing industry is immensely grateful for all that he has done."
24 April 2012