03/07/2011 6:13PM

Breeders’ Cup names interim CEOs, forms executive search committee

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The Breeders’ Cup board on Monday appointed two of its top officials as interim co-chief executives while the organization searches for a replacement for Greg Avioli, who resigned as chief executive Friday.

Matthew Lutz, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, will join Carter Carnegie, vice president of sales, in jointly overseeing the Breeders’ Cup’s operations, the organization announced.

Also on Monday, the Breeders’ Cup board formed an executive search committee to identify Avioli’s replacement. Tom Ludt, general manager of the Vinery, was appointed the committee’s chairman, and board members Helen Alexander, Antony Beck, Jerry Crawford, and Richard Santulli will serve as members, Breeders’ Cup said.

“The search process will begin immediately, with the committee to provide an update to the board at its next scheduled meeting in April,” a statement from Breeders’ Cup said.

On Sunday, Breeders’ Cup board member Satish Sanan, who has headed several strategic planning committees for the organization, said that he expected the board to concentrate its search on candidates within the racing industry.

“I think it has to be someone who has a lot of relationships already in the racing industry and knows how this business works,” Sanan said.

Avioli, who had been chief executive of the organization since 2006, resigned Friday to take a job overseeing the racing assets currently held by MI Developments. Those assets, which include former Breeders’ Cup host sites Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park, are expected to be spun off from MI Developments later this year, if shareholders approve a proposal from the company’s chairman, Frank Stronach, to swap his supervoting shares in the company for the racing and gambling assets. Shareholders will vote on the plan March 26.

Lutz has been the chief financial officer since late 2007 and had previously been the chief financial officer for a Baltimore-based manufacturer. Carnegie has been with the Breeders’ Cup since 2000, after five years as the event director of Host Communications.