HRNZ Chief Executive to resign

Gary Woodham has made the decision to step down as Chief Executive of HRNZ.

"I have recently experienced challenging health issues and have decided to resign to focus on recovery and spending time with my family," he says.

After taking over as CEO in January 2021, Woodham has been at the forefront of some major changes within the sport. During his three years at the helm he placed huge emphasis on improving the team culture at HRNZ, and was a big proponent of what he called TOA (Transparency, Ownership and Accountability).

A lifelong harness racing fan, he has been heavily involved in owning, breeding and racing a number of horses, including many topliners.

Now he says it's time to change focus.

"As well as spending more time with my family, work-wise I will be looking to step into more mentoring and directorship positions in the near future."

The decision was relayed to HRNZ staff this afternoon.

A recruitment process will get underway shortly to find a new Chief Executive. Until then Mauro Barsi will be the Acting Chief Executive. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer late last year when Woodham went on extended medical leave.

"I am happy to remain and assist HRNZ until an appointment is made," says Barsi.

"I also would like to thank Gary for being such a strong advocate for harness racing ... he was a big presence at HRNZ and will be missed".

HRNZ Chair Phil Holden agrees : "Gary's made a meaningful and long lasting contribution to our sport and while it's never easy making decisions like he has, we wish him all the best for this new chapter in his life."


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