03/28/2011 12:35PM

Breeders' Cup hires headhunter to fill CEO spot


Breeders’ Cup Ltd. has hired a company to conduct its search for a new chief executive, the organization announced on Monday.

The search will be managed by Spencer Stuart, a sports-business firm that had also been hired by Breeders’ Cup six years ago following the retirement of its previous chief executive. At the conclusion of that process, Spencer Stuart recommended the organization hire its existing interim chief executive, Greg Avioli, who resigned early this month.

The process to name a new chief executive is expected to be completed by July, Breeders’ Cup said. In a release, the organization also said that it wanted to clarify that the position would be based in Lexington, Ky., where Breeders’ Cup has its headquarters.

Following Avioli’s resignation – which caught most Breeders’ Cup directors by surprise – the organization formed a search committee from its board of directors. In the week after the committee was formed, the organization received 40 inquiries to fill the position, according to Breeders’ Cup officials.

“The position has attracted so much initial interest from inside and outside our industry and the selection is of such vital importance to our organization that the committee wanted to utilize the best professional resources available to assist with this process,” said Breeders’ Cup director Tom Ludt, the chairman of the search committee.

According to tax records for the organization, Avioli received approximately $850,000 in total compensation in 2007, the last year for which records are available.