The Board of Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) / Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) has today proposed the appointment of Dearbhla O’Brien to the position of Chief Executive Officer. The appointment will now be submitted to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine for approval.
Ms. O’Brien is currently CEO of WorkandTravel.ie and was formerly Managing Director and CEO of USIT Ireland. She will take up her position in January 2022.
The Board has also approved the appointment of Philip Peake, Deputy CEO as Interim CEO until Ms. O’Brien takes up the position.
Dearbhla O’Brien is a seasoned CEO and Managing Director with extensive experience across multiple sectors to drive business growth and transformation. She was promoted to Managing Director/CEO of USIT Ireland in 2010 following success as Commercial and Marketing Director over a 7-year period. In 2019, Ms. O’Brien established Workandtravel.ie and guided the business to gain a 30% market share of the S J1 market in the first year of trading.
Announcing Ms. O’Brien’s appointment, Frank Nyhan, Chairperson of the Board of GRI, said, “On behalf of the staff and Board of GRI, I am pleased to announce that Dearbhla O’Brien has, following an extensive recruitment process, accepted the position as our new CEO.”
Mr. Nyhan continued, “Dearbhla’s organisational values, vision, communication skills, and commercial and marketing knowledge makes her an excellent choice as CEO as we look to build on the significant progress made in several key areas in recent years, including greyhound welfare, traceability and the overall strengthening of the sector following a difficult operating environment brought about by the pandemic.”
Mr. Nyhan acknowledged outgoing CEO Gerard Dollard “for his contribution to GRI over the past four years.”
“Gerard has led the organisation through a turbulent period, and he has successfully concluded many changes and innovations for the greater good of the greyhound community. We wish him every success in his future endeavours,” he stated. “Together with the Board, I also want to thank Philip for stepping into the Interim role and I wish him the very best during the next three months.”
Commenting on her appointment, Ms. O’Brien said, “I’m delighted to be appointed CEO of Greyhound Racing Ireland and I look forward to working with my new colleagues and the vibrant and committed greyhound racing community in the years ahead, which are full of both challenges and opportunities.”
“I will use my strategic and operational planning, corporate governance and commercial strategy experience to further strengthen the greyhound racing industry by fostering the working relationship between the GRI and owners and trainers, as well as developing a strategy towards restoring attendance levels at race meetings closer to pre-pandemic levels.
“I will place a strong emphasis on the need to continually develop and invest in new and existing care and welfare initiatives, such as the provision of care and foster care centres, the inspection programme for greyhound establishments and the operation of a Greyhound Injuries Support Scheme,” concluded Ms. O’Brien.