The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) formally farewelled its Chairman Amanda Elliott at a VRC Board meeting on Friday.
Earlier this year the VRC announced a detailed succession plan outlining a leadership transition of the Board from Amanda Elliott to former CEO and Board member Neil Wilson in November 2020 as well as the appointment of new VRC CEO Steve Rosich.
Neil Wilson becomes the 22nd Chairman of the VRC. During his time on the VRC Board he served as Honorary Treasurer before his appointment as CEO in June 2017, and since then has overseen a period of growth through a range of racing, media and event-based initiatives supported by a number of new strategic partnerships.
Amanda Elliott joined the Board in 2002, becoming Vice Chairman in 2011 and its first female Chairman in 2017. During her tenure the VRC has gone from strength to strength, becoming a contemporary organisation and growing its audience amongst the next generation of racing fans whilst still honouring the history of the 156-year-old institution.
Incoming Chairman Neil Wilson paid tribute to his predecessor for her significant contributions to the VRC since becoming Chairman in 2017.
“This year has truly been like no other in the 156-year history of the VRC, and Amanda’s leadership during her time as Chairman has ensured that the Club was well-placed to withstand the challenges that we faced,” Mr Wilson said.
“For the first time in its history, the Melbourne Cup Carnival took place without our members and the general public on course.
“The Board, under Amanda’s leadership, was determined to ensure that the Carnival would not only proceed, but thrive, championing innovative ways to engage with members and racing fans across the globe.
“A well-credentialled and stable Board is critical to ensure the Club is on a strong footing for the benefit of members both now as we emerge from the pandemic and well into the future.”
Mr Wilson said Amanda leaves a strong legacy, being the driving force behind the Club Stand with its striking design, state-of-the-art features and world-class member experience, enabling the VRC to grow its membership and ensure the long-term success and viability of the Club.
“She also oversaw a significant expansion in Club revenue through ground-breaking new sponsorship and broadcast arrangements for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, whilst still maintaining the traditions and primacy of Australia’s greatest race, the Lexus Melbourne Cup,” said Mr Wilson.
“I look forward to building on Amanda’s achievements and having the opportunity to continue to serve the VRC and our members as the Chairman of the Board.
“My priority as Chairman is to drive even deeper engagement with our members, recognising their loyalty and faith in the Club in a very tough year where their racing experience has been significantly impacted by the global pandemic.
“While our absolute focus is on overseeing the return of members and patrons to Flemington as soon as we can, we are also committed to further growing the off course experience for everyone wherever they are.”
Mrs Elliott said, “It has been an enormous privilege to lead one of Australia’s greatest sporting icons and indeed, its original major event.
“To have been the VRC’s first female Chairman is something I am tremendously proud of. I have loved the responsibility of guiding and leading this great institution.
“I depart now, absolutely confident and satisfied that the Board is the strongest, most qualified and united group of people I’ve had the pleasure to serve alongside. I am delighted that Neil is now the 22nd Chairman of the VRC. He will be a great leader and with this talented Board, CEO and executive team, will take this proud and historic Club to another level.
“Whilst I’m leaving my official role, I will always remain the VRC’s Number 1 supporter.”