Mitchell appointed as chair of Woodbine Entertainment's board of directors

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TORONTO — Longtime industry executive Hugh Mitchell was appointed as chair of Woodbine Entertainment's board of directors Friday.

The move is effective immediately. Mitchell was named to the post during Woodbine Entertainment's annual general meeting earlier in the day.

Mitchell replaces Christine Magee, who'd served as board chair since 2020 and a director since 2015.

In a statement, Woodbine said as chair, Mitchell will provide "leadership, guidance and governance as Woodbine Entertainment fulfils its mandate to sustain and grow horse racing in Ontario."

“As we continue to emerge from the global pandemic, our board, organization, and the horse racing industry will substantially benefit from Hugh’s knowledge, relationships and experience,” said Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson. “We have a tremendous opportunity to grow the sport of horse racing in Ontario in the coming years with exciting and transformative initiatives and we look forward to leveraging Hugh’s business and horse racing experience to help realize and maximize those opportunities.”

Mitchell has been on Woodbine's board since 2018. He most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Western Fair District in London, Ont., holding that position from 2009-2018.

Mitchell has also been the chair of Woodbine Entertainment’s Standardbred Racing Committee since 2020. He has also worked as the chairman of the board of Harness Tracks of America (HTA) and Ontario Racing Board of Directors.

Earlier in his career, Mitchell worked for Woodbine Entertainment as its senior vice-president of racing (1998-2005).

"I have been extremely fortunate to work in the horse racing industry for many years which makes this appointment very special and motivating for me personally,” said Mitchell. “The industry in Ontario is full of hardworking people who are extremely passionate about our sport and equine athletes.

"I very much look forward to working with the board and Mr. Lawson on growing our sport and industry to the benefit of the thousands of families who earn a living in horse racing.”

Long-serving member Ben Hutzel also retired from the board of directors, effective Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2022.

The Canadian Press