03/18/2005 1:00AM

Magna names Cellucci to post


Paul Cellucci, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada and governor of Massachusetts, has been hired by Magna Entertainment Corp. to be the company's executive vice president of corporate development, Magna announced Friday.

Dennis Mills, the vice chairman of Magna, said that Cellucci's primary role will be to address regulation and legislation that affects the racing industry. He will work with Magna's executive management committee, Mills said, including with Magna's former chief executive, Jim McAlpine, who was replaced two weeks ago.

Cellucci is considered close to President George W. Bush, whose policies he championed while ambassador to Canada. Voters in Florida, where Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, is governor, recently passed a referendum giving racetracks in Broward County, including Magna's Gulfstream Park, the right to operate slot machines. Gov. Bush has said he will work with the legislature to determine how much revenue tracks receive and how many machines they can operate.

Asked whether Cellucci's appointment was related to his ties to the Bush family, Mills said Cellucci would "work on the sidelines" with the coalition of racetracks that supported the referendum.

"With any legislator, including Gov. Bush, it's important to remember that what matters is good public policy, and good public policy has nothing to do with relationships," Mills said.