Tony Mestrov takes the job as GRNSW CEO – is it the right call?

Tony Mestrov
Tony Mestrov has been announced as the new CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW. Pic: AAP

GREYHOUND Racing NSW has a new man at the helm.

Tony Mestrov, CEO of the NRL side Gold Coast Titans and former CEO of Hockey NSW has taken the responsibility to “guide the organisation through a significant period of industry reform”.

Former integrity services manager at Racing Victoria, Dayle Brown, has been appointed as Mestrov’s deputy. Mestrov is due to start in under a month on November 20, while Brown will begin a few weeks later in December.

The long-awaited change of leadership was announced today by the racing body and welcomed by GRNSW chairman Morris Iemma.

“Tony Mestrov is a leading sports administrator who has a proven ability of responsibly-growing commercial opportunities while expanding and engaging community involvement in various sporting industries,” Iemma said.

“He is very experienced in working with stakeholder groups to identify new opportunities and engage in new and innovative business strategies.

“Dayle Brown has shown to be an extremely effective regulator both in the racing, wagering and corporate sector. He will be responsible for implementing the appropriate governance structures both within GRNSW and the NSW greyhound racing industry to ensure they meet best practice while also ensuring animal welfare remains the organisation’s highest priority.”

After taking what can only be described as one of the most challenging jobs in all of Australian sport, Mestrov said he was excited about the opportunity presented at GRNSW.

“The NSW greyhound racing industry is full of passionate and committed stakeholders and I look forward to working with the new board of GRNSW to steer the NSW greyhound racing industry towards a sustainable and viable future,” he said.

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NSW GBOTA Chairman, Geoff Rose, described the finalisation of the appointment as another important step in the NSW greyhound industry’s re-structuring.

“A lot has happened since the NSW Government’s initial and ill-considered decision to ban our sport on July 7, 2016,” said Rose.

“Industry stakeholders have been resolute in supporting the change required to ensure our industry has an ethical and sustainable future.

“The reversal of the ban, the separation of peak body regulatory and commercial functions, the appointments of highly credentialed Board of GRNSW and Integrity and Welfare Commission members and now the lead commercial executive are all part of a strong base upon which we can now build.”

Is Tony Mestrov the right man to lead GRNSW forward?

Like anything, we’re going to have to take a wait-and-see approach with this.

Mestrov must be a man who enjoys a challenge – greyhound racing in NSW has gone from one scandal to the next over the last two years and as tighter regulations and rules are introduced, a period of rapid change and upheaval is still ahead.

Make no mistake, we’re not out of the woods yet, despite turning back the ban.

We do commend GRNSW for finding someone from outside of the industry – someone with experience in different fields that brings different talents and connections to the table. At first glance, Dayle Brown looks like a solid operator too – coming from an integrity background in Victoria and considerable experience with the wagering side of the role.

AustralianRacingGreyhound.com has long urged the industry to search outside the tired, same-old faces who have been responsible for some of the code’s failures over the last decade.

And Mestrov appears to fit the bill, even though he crosses from the often scandalous NRL competition.

He handled the takeover at the Titans with clear, calm, decisive actions despite the club being embroiled in several scandals prior to him taking the top post.

What we are saying is Mestrov is a man who is used to playing near the fire, which is an attribute he will need taking the reins at GRNSW.

We hope that Mestrov starts out on the right foot and has the interests of trainers, owners and punters in mind as he leads the industry forward.

We need someone who communicates with the grass roots and is willing to think outside the box to grow and once again make our sport great.

We’ll bring further updates on this development throughout the week – keep an eye on our News section.