GREYHOUND Racing Victoria announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Karen Lees as its new Chief Steward.
Lees, who has been appointed for a two-year period, takes over from Glenn Fish, who left the top job earlier in 2016 to take up a senior role at Racing Victoria.
Lees comes into the new role at GRV with a vast amount of experience in a range of different roles. Lees has formerly worked as the Director Compliance for the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, while she has also held the position as a Senior Director Strategic Risk and Intelligence at the Australian Taxation Office.
In regards to her education, Lees holds a Masters degree in organised crime and has an undergraduate degree in Policing and Journalism.
GRV Senior Investigations Manager Charlie Buzzina welcomed the appointment of Lees in a statement on Wednesday.
“This is a vital appointment in ensuring the highest integrity for Victorian greyhound racing and Ms Lees will be part of a commitment to continue to make GRV a leader in Australian greyhound racing,” Bezzina said.
This latest news from GRV comes one day after the controlling body announced the appointment of Dr Gavin Goble to the position of General Manager of Animal Welfare.
Dr Goble, a qualified veterinarian, moves into the position bringing with him an extensive background in caring for animals, with a particular focus on racing greyhounds. Goble already has a deep understanding of the sport, having attended more than 500 race meetings in his role as the race-day veterinarian.
Aside from his work as a veterinarian, Goble also has experience in strategy, change management, staff management, sales, research and business operations, including a pervious role as a General Manager.
Goble’s appointment comes as a part of GRV’s renewed focus on animal welfare and integrity and he will lead a newly formed Animal Welfare Department.
This department will have a focus on ensuring animal welfare for greyhounds throughout their entire life cycles and will include a strengthened inspection team as well as new training, education and research capabilities.
An additional part of the department will also include the management of GRV’s Greyhound Adoption Program and other re-homing initiatives.
GRV’s CEO Alan Clayton said Goble’s appointment was a massive step forward for the industry.
“As the governing body of Victorian greyhound racing, there is nothing more important to GRV than the welfare of a greyhound before, during and after their racing career,” Clayton said.
“This appointment comes after an exhaustive selection process and we are thrilled to have secured the best person for the job in Dr Goble.
“GRV will continue to place the utmost emphasis on animal welfare above all else and we are looking forward to Dr Goble leading that emphasis.”
Goble added that he was excited about the opportunity that was ahead of him.
“Caring for animals is my passion and I feel that I can help make a real difference in this role,” he said.
“I have been impressed with what I have seen from GRV in the space of animal welfare and am looking forward to heading up what is obviously a key priority for the organisation.”