Julie Harrington is to succeed Nick Rust as chief executive of the BHA.

Harrington, 51, joins the BHA following nearly four years as the chief executive of British Cycling. She was also a board member of the BHA between 2014 and 2019, and a senior executive with Northern Racing for eight years, including a spell as Managing Director of Uttoxeter. Harrington later joined the Football Association, where in her role as Operations Director she was responsible for Wembley Stadium and St George’s Park, the FA training facility.

“I’m so excited to be coming home to racing and playing my part helping this great sport to achieve a prosperity from which everyone benefits,” said Harrington. “I know how important collaboration across racing has been over the past few months and I look forward to working with colleagues from all parts of the sport.

“The BHA and its team of dedicated officials do a great job in keeping racing safe, clean and fair. I am proud to take on this leadership role in such a well-regulated sport, which enriches the lives of horses and people, and has a special place at the centre of national life and our rural communities.”

BHA Chair Annamarie Phelps said she was looking forward to working closely with Harrington. She said: “I am delighted that Julie is coming back to the BHA and to racing and the Board and I are looking forward to working closely with her. This is a vital leadership role for the organisation and British racing. Julie’s hands-on knowledge of horseracing, coupled with her governance and business experience, make her the ideal person to carry on with the task of restoring sustainable prosperity after the COVID crisis. We’ve got the right person, for the right job, at the right time.”

Harrington will join the BHA on January 4 after completing her notice period at British Cycling. 

Nick Rust continues to lead the BHA as it works with industry bodies on resumption and recovery. A revised industry plan is due to be published shortly.

“Nick and his team are working closely with the RCA and The Horsemen’s Group to get racing through the next phase of COVID19, to bring back the public, and support our owners and investors in the sport,” said Phelps. “There’ll be no let-up over the coming months and the sport will see a seamless transition to our new CEO. I want to thank all those at the BHA and the industry bodies who are working so hard and I’m confident that racing will continue to lead the way towards a full resumption of sport.”