The TAB NZ Board has appointed Nick Roberts to become the statutory entity’s Chief Executive Officer from 1 June.
Mr Roberts will take over the CEO position from Mike Tod, who has confirmed he is stepping away from the organisation following Ministerial approval of TAB New Zealand’s strategic partnering arrangement with Entain - an arrangement that is set to deliver a generational outcome for the organisation and its stakeholders.
TAB NZ Board Chair Mark Stewart MNZM says the CEO role from 1 June will focus on transitioning and leading the remaining TAB NZ to its future state, and establish the organisation and the partnership with Entain for success.
The remaining statutory entity will have a smaller operating model and will focus on TAB NZ’s retained functions, which include delivering on its legislative obligations, monitoring the regulatory and commercial performance of Entain, exploring further commercial opportunities with Entain, and working with the Government on reforms to New Zealand’s online gambling laws.
“As General Counsel and then Chief Transition Officer, Nick was a critical part of the team that worked tirelessly on securing the strategic partnering arrangement with Entain,” Mark Stewart says.
“The retention of Nick’s commercial acumen and legal skills, particularly his experience and deep knowledge of the legislative settings in NZ, the wagering ecosystem, and the contract that underpins the Entain arrangement will prove extremely valuable to the TAB NZ Board, our regulators and indeed the stakeholders that rely on TAB NZ funding.”
Nick Roberts, a long-standing employee of TAB NZ, is thrilled to be taking over the reins at TAB NZ:
“The New Zealand racing industry remains world class despite the funding challenges that have persisted for some time, but our place on the international map and the export revenue that racing drives for our great country requires a strong domestic industry. An industry that also makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s gross domestic product and many regional communities through employment and investment.
“We have secured a generational change in the fortunes for racing. It is now up to the leaders across the racing industry to seize this opportunity and deliver a sustainable operating model over the next five years, and give customers a world class product and experience.
“Our sporting partners are also set to benefit from Entain’s investment in products and services. Some key National Sporting Organisations will be able to invest deeply in participation and elite performance as a result of the extra funding they will receive from TAB NZ.
“Entain have demonstrated a significant commitment to New Zealand racing and sport, and to TAB NZ’s 250,000 customers who will benefit from an improved experience and global-leading harm minimisation tools that TAB NZ would not otherwise have been able to bring to market.
“I look forward to continuing the cultural alignment we have already established with the Entain Australia team, led by Chief Executive Officer Dean Shannon.
“The TAB NZ Board has done an incredible job shepherding this transaction through, and I congratulate Mike on what he achieved at the helm of TAB NZ. Together, Mike and the Board have turned around the fortunes of racing in a short space of time and a key, outstanding recommendation of the 2018 Messara Report has been delivered, which has at the same time paved the way for significant extra funding to sport in New Zealand.
“TAB NZ looks forward to working with the Government on progressing changes to online gambling laws, including the establishment of a legislative net to ensure racing and sports betting proceeds remain within New Zealand. $150m is lost annually by Kiwis to offshore racing and sports betting operators, and we think that money should stay in New Zealand to ensure the best harm minimisation outcomes for Kiwi punters and to provide funding to our communities instead of private investors offshore.”
Note for editors: TAB New Zealand and Entain will not be commenting further on the proposed strategic partnering arrangement until after completion on 1 June.