Woodbine Entertainment announced today changes to its senior leadership team as part of a strategic re-alignment that positions the organization to best fulfill its mission in leading the growth and sustainability of the horse racing industry in Ontario.
“Our industry and business have changed significantly over the last few years and this re-alignment of our senior leadership team is the right structure to take advantage of our opportunities and tackle our challenges,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “Our sole mandate at Woodbine is to grow and sustain the horse racing industry in our province. We are entirely focused on that mission and these changes reflect our commitment in achieving that goal.”
The strategic re-alignment involves several senior executives taking on new roles and responsibilities across Woodbine, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Ontario Racing Management.
Joe Aschaiek, previously the Senior Vice President, Finance is now the Chief Financial Officer and will continue to lead all areas of finance for Woodbine Entertainment and play a significant role in driving the organization’s strategic imperatives while reporting directly to Lawson.
Jonathan Zammit, who has served as the Vice President of Thoroughbred Racing for the last three years, will transition to Vice President, Racing Finance / Associate Executive Director for Ontario Racing Management (ORM) where he will utilize his expertise in strategic finance and experience in horse racing and purse management to maximize wagering handle and optimize race cards working alongside key stakeholders. Zammit, who will report to Aschaiek, will also work alongside Katherine Curry, Executive Director of ORM, to support the entire provincial horse racing industry with respect to the Long-Term Funding Agreement and other strategic financial matters.
Jessica Buckley, who was most recently President, Woodbine Mohawk Park and has held several different positions throughout her career in the US and at Woodbine including in wagering, broadcast, government relations and stakeholder relations, is now the Senior Vice President of Standardbred Racing and Thoroughbred Racing. With an extensive background in horse racing that spans more than two decades, Buckley will lead both breeds of world-class racing and report to Lawson, while both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racing Operations will report directly into her.
Spencer Parazader, who joined Woodbine Entertainment in 2019 and has significant experience in the gaming industry, will take on the role of General Manager for Woodbine Mohawk Park and report into Chief Operating Officer Tom Via. Bill McLinchey will continue in his role of Director of Standardbred Racing reporting to Buckley.
On the Thoroughbred side, Stuart Slagle, former racing secretary who has been in charge of race planning recently, is no longer with the company.
“As we enter into a new decade, we remain very optimistic about the horse racing industry, but also recognize that we are not without challenges,” said Lawson. “These changes to our senior leadership, along with working closely with our many stakeholders, will ensure a bright future for the great sport of horse racing for decades to come.”