Tim Rourke and Mark Player have joined Racing Victoria's board of directors, ending months of uncertainty over the regulatory body’s governance framework.

Gillon McLachlan
Gillon McLachlan won't be the next Racing Victoria chairman. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Their appointment puts to bed speculation that former AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan would be RV’s next chairman.

When he was interviewed for a board position last month, McLachlan emerged as a frontrunner for the vacant chairman’s position.

But an ongoing delay in an announcement from Victorian Racing Minister Anthony Carbines seemed to confirm widespread industry opinion that McLachlan had changed his mind.

Ahead of Friday's announcement that Rourke and Player would be appointed for four and two years, respectively, media reports suggested McLachlan had pulled out of the race because of potential conflict of interest issues.

McLachlan has recently been linked to several executive and non-executive roles, including the top job at Tabcorp which has been vacant since the sudden departure of Adam Rytenskild in March because of allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

With acting Racing Victoria chairman Mike Hirst set to step down at the end of the month, Tim Eddy, a board member since 2019, is tipped to take over the role. An announcement regarding that position is expected later this month.

Rourke, an active thoroughbred owner and breeder, joins RV with an extensive business background in the energy sector, spanning almost three decades.

He is the chief executive of CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy and serves as a director on the boards of Energy Networks Australia and United Energy.

Player has been a highly regarded figure in the international thoroughbred scene for more than 25 years.

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In various racing and breeding industry roles, Player has held senior positions at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing and RV.

Player, who is the executive chairman of the renowned training complex Macedon Lodge, founded International Thoroughbred Solutions in 2011, an independent thoroughbred consultancy business.

His clients have included the HKJC, prominent UK racetracks, the Breeders’ Cup racing series in the US and leading bloodstock company Goffs.

Rourke and Player replace retired RV board member Greg Nichols and previous chairman Brian Kruger.

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The replacement of Hirst, whose term ends on June 30, is yet to be confirmed.

“We congratulate Tim and Mark on their appointments to the board and believe their skill sets will be of great benefit to Racing Victoria and the broader industry,” Hirst said.

“Both Mark's extensive international equine and racing expertise and Tim's business acumen and passion for the industry will make them invaluable additions to the board.

“The members of the board look forward to working with Tim and Mark and are confident that they will play a key role in fostering the ongoing success of Victorian racing.”

“The members of the board look forward to working with Tim and Mark and are confident that they will play a key role in fostering the ongoing success of Victorian racing.” - Mike Hirst

Rourke and Player will commence their respective terms immediately.

As per the RV constitution, the board will now nominate a director for the position of chair in a process that will require government approval.

A deputy chair will also be selected, and both roles are expected to be filled before or at the next board meeting on June 21.

One of the new-look board's most pressing issues will be finding a replacement for chief executive Andrew Jones.

Jones left RV in April after his tenure created a divide within the Victorian racing industry.

Another key executive, Ben Amarfio, has also departed, prompting calls for a management reset within the organisation.