Published: March 31, 2015 -
On the last day of Nick Eaves’ tenure as president and CEO of the Woodbine Entertainment Group, the Toronto Sun has published a profile piece on Eaves titled ‘Woodbine chief Nick Eaves steps down after revitalizing horse racing in Ontario.’
Woodbine announced in January that Eaves would be leaving WEG after having served the company for more than 20 years. In WEG’s release on the matter, Eaves, 46, was quoted as saying “Looking forward, I have confidence that the organization is pointed in the right direction and know the current leadership team will continue to grow and improve on the model we have developed.”
The Woodbine Entertainment Group’s chairman, Jim Lawson, will lead the company on an interim basis while the board seeks Eaves’ replacement.
In The Sun’s piece, which was penned by Bill Lankhof, Eaves stated that “Leaving [Woodbine] is the most difficult decision in my life,” adding, “this place has been everything to me, and my family.”
In terms of looking to the future, Eaves went on to say “Woodbine, and our industry, has been able to change …OK, bemoan the fact a very successful partnership was cancelled unnecessarily? OK. But that’s yesterday’s news. The thing was, what were we going to do about it? Let’s build a new partnership. This industry and company is on its way to an even more profitable relationship.”
In terms of the upheaval and uncertainty that the Ontario racing industry went through with the termination of the Slots at Racetracks program, Eaves states that he believes “the worst has passed.”
Eaves said, “There’s a confidence again among breeders that there will be a return on investment. Three years ago when the province cancelled the slots program, investment in the breeding industry dried up. There was no certainty or stability with what was happening in our industry.” Eaves went on to say, “the breeders are only now beginning to invest again.”
Eaves discussed how the industry has been forced to change, and how that forced change has led to a new business model.
“I’ve been thrilled to see an industry embrace change; a very traditional industry that is often resistant to change,” said Eaves. “There is now a new business model upon which the industry is going to grow. We couldn’t say that three years ago.”
In terms of making the tough decision to step away from WEG, Eaves said, “It’s time for somebody else to lead for the long term … It just felt like a good time for me to go.”
To read the Toronto Sun piece in its entirety, click here.
(With files from the Toronto Sun)