08/25/2009 11:00PM

Marketing chief leaving Breeders' Cup

Peter Land will leave the Breeders' Cup in early September for a position at PepsiCo.

Peter Land, the chief marketing officer for Breeders' Cup, has accepted a position with PepsiCo and will leave in early September, two months before the Breeders' Cup event on Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita Park in Southern California, according to the organization.

Land, a former marketing and public relations executive with experience at the National Basketball Association, will start in his new position as PepsiCo's senior vice president of communications on Sept. 14, according to Breeders' Cup. His position will not immediately be filled, according to the organization, and his duties instead will be handled by a trio of existing marketing and communications employees.

Land was hired by the Breeders' Cup in late 2007, just before the year-end event. While Land was at the Breeders' Cup, the organization decided to hold the event at Santa Anita for two consecutive years for what Breeders' Cup officials contended would be marketing benefits. The organization had never used the same host site in consecutive years before.

Also during Land's tenure, Breeders' Cup decided to hold five races restricted to fillies and mares on Friday, the first day of an expanded two-day 14-race program. As part of that decision, the name of the Breeders' Cup Distaff, the event's richest race for fillies and mares, was changed to the Ladies' Classic.

Breeders' Cup officials are currently developing a long-term strategic plan to address concerns about the organization's direction and financial situation, in part to address a significant financial deficit caused by the deterioration in the bloodstock market and the organization's rapid expansion over the past three years.

Greg Avioli, the organization's chief executive, said in a statement that Breeders' Cup will not make a decision about filling Land's position until that planning process is complete.

"We have a great team in place both at Breeders' Cup and at our 2009 host facility at Oak Tree at Santa Anita to ensure a seamless operation for this year's [event]," said Avioli. "Moving forward we would expect to address any additional personnel needs in the marketing area in the context of the organization's ongoing strategic planning initiatives."