INCOMING Greyhound Racing NSW CEO Tony Mestrov said he was looking forward to the challenge of his new role, strongly believing that the perception of the NSW greyhound racing industry in the wider community can change.
Mestrov and the current head of integrity at Racing Victoria Dayle Brown were unveiled as the new leadership team at Greyhound Racing earlier this month, with Brown to be the organisation’s Deputy CEO.
Mestrov brings with him a wealth of experience in sports administration and business development having been Chief Operating Officer at the Gold Coast Titans rugby league team and previously the CEO at Hockey NSW.
Mestrov is under no illusions about what the CEO role at Greyhound Racing NSW will involve.
“You don’t consider a role like this without enjoying a challenge,” Mestrov said.
“Specifically, the challenge itself is to take greyhound racing to a place where everyone wants it to be; namely developing a positive profile. Changing the current perception is incredibly important, and that takes time and a lot of work, but I do believe it’s achievable.
“From an operations perspective, Greyhound Racing NSW is well positioned at the moment enjoying strong wagering returns. I’m excited at the prospect of continuing this trend in order to build a sustainable and viable future, and I think this is an industry with enormous potential for growth.”
Mestrov had undertaken an extensive amount of research before applying for the CEO role.
“I never like to go into anything blind. I looked at the commercial opportunities, the obstacles, the challenges and the potential for growth and development,” Mestrov said.
“I strongly believe in having a strong team culture, and for that reason, I am really looking forward to working with existing staff and (incoming) Deputy CEO Dayle Brown. I believe we will complement each other well given his regulatory background.”
In terms of the first 12 months of his role, Mestrov wants to immerse himself in the NSW greyhound ¬racing industry.
“I want to give really strong leadership to the organisation, that’s incredibly important given the nature of change the industry is experiencing at the moment.
“It’s also important to communicate clearly to all stakeholders and immerse myself in the industry. I want to get out into the community and meet the trainers, owners and the participants who are the back bone of the sport.
“Commercial viability is also essential; I want to ensure the long-term future of this sport for all participants and part of the way to do that is to strengthen the brand which has been damaged in the past.
“Changing the perception of the industry is vital. Positive PR has to be a key focus, and I believe we can implement that. I’ve been following the evolution [of the industry] closely, and a lot of hard work has been done to improve all facets of greyhound racing in the state. It’s important to trumpet the successes and shine a light on the positive things that the industry and GRNSW are doing to reform the industry, particularly the focus on animal welfare.
“Attaining better returns for owners and trainers is also vital, without them the industry can’t continue.”
Mestrov will take office on November 20, with Deputy CEO Dayle Brown to begin in December.