Greyhound Racing SA Announce New CEO

Bodelle Francis continues to enhance her status as trailblazer in the racing industry, appointed the new chief executive of Greyhound Racing SA.

Tom Biddington

17 March 2022

Bodelle Francis continues to enhance her status as trailblazer in the racing industry but after making a name for herself in thoroughbreds, she’s switching codes having been appointed the new chief executive of Greyhound Racing South Australia.

The prominent South Australian businesswoman is synonymous with breaking boundaries, earning that reputation when she became the first female chair of the South Australian Jockey Club, and now she will be the first female to lead any of the state’s three racing codes from the chief executive’s seat.

Francis will start in the role on April 27 after resigning as the general manager of the Oval Hotel, replacing former chief executive Matt Corby, who left in January after 11 years to take up a position with The National Golf Club in Victoria.

“I’m incredibly excited and very humbled for the opportunity,” Francis said.

“I definitely think my passion and my tenacity has shone through over this period and I love doing things that are outside the box – and to be frank if someone tells me I can’t do it, it pushes me more – I love a challenge.

“It’s a great opportunity to lead from the front and hopefully continue the great legacy which has been left by Matt.”

Francis, who spent two years as chair of the SAJC, will lean on her vast experience in the hospitality and racing sectors as she pivots to her new position.

“First and foremost it will be about looking, listening, learning and understanding the code and the people,” she said.

“I’ll be spending a lot of time getting to know the main stakeholders, talking to owners, talking to trainers, talking to members and really getting a sound understanding of the community, which is the fabric of the code.

“That’s one of the things I love about racing – it’s very much about that community, the stories and the passion. So you need to understand the reason for why and then look after the core business after that.

“I appreciate what boards want and what boards need and having hand in setting strategic directions and trying to think outside the square, because while it’s all about racing, there are plenty of other elements to the code.”

Francis admitted it was a tough to leave the Oval Hotel as things really start to ramp up post-pandemic.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity and I’ve got the most wonderful team and it’s been an honour to be here from the months prior to the build and see it come to life and really start to hit its straps now,” she said.

“So it’s definitely bittersweet that now we’re coming out of the pandemic, everything that we’ve put in place is now coming to fruition. It’s great to see.”

GRSA chairman Grantley Stevens is excited by the appointment, with Francis beating out a strong field of contenders for the role.

“Her skill and experiences in both racing and hospitality will be a great asset to the industry,” Stevens said.

“Ms Francis will be a great fit for the culture of the business and racing code, with strong stakeholder management and passion for the industry.

“We look forward to seeing Bodelle lead the industry to further growth.”