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RoyalAcademy
07 Jun 12 14:30
Joined:
Date Joined: 05 Jun 08
| Topic/replies: 1,360 | Blogger: RoyalAcademy's blog
In the space of a few weeks he has returned to the subject in today's Racing Post. This time it was prompted by yesterday's news that the head of marketing, Dryden Geary, is to leave the organisation for "family reasons".

Described by Mullin as "undoubtedly one of the brightest young talents in Irish racing" we must assume that Geary has been overlooked  for the top job within the Tote - advertised in March and, as yet, no announcement as to who is replacing the former hospital manager who stepped down months ago after only a wet weekend in the job - but no reference was made by Mullin to the new boss. If HRI are failing to appoint the "brightest" stars within the organisation then I presume we will never know why as transparency is hardly their strongest suit.

HRI obviously recognised a star when they saw one as they recently promoted a new boss over the marketing department-Michael O'Rourke must be feeling a little blue.

A glance thru tote returns shows that the jackpot is virtually dead - it was taking two carry-overs to even reach the relatively small guarantee of 5k - and only swells on multiple carry-overs. Even then it seems the main interest from foreign customers are in win/place and placepot and the so-called "exotics" that are promoted stronly by tote go unheeded. Its sometimes rumoured/stated that the take of tote ire from french pari-mutuel bets is minimal-possibly as low as 1%.

Mullin originally flew the kite about who should be running the Tote and it seemed to be a private enterprise-friendly article albeit if any of his favourites bookies (that advertise with said paper) find themselves winning a licence thats due to be issued in a year, they might find more obstacles than profit in a privately-run operation.

In-house promotions like guaranteeing SP odds and jackpot/tote double/pick 6 guarantees must be costing a fortune and the vast majority of tracks must cost them money every time there's a tote presence. my final bugbear is the minimum place dividend of €1.02 that must have punters deserting in their droves. some of these dividends based on returned SP are just appalling and show no interest in racing's most important stakeholder-the punter.

If you want a giggle then check out tote's facebook and twitter pages earlier this week when they posted their promotion of the Downpatrick placepot. Some kind soul in irishracing.com tweeted back to remind them that Downpatrick was an afternoon meeting and they were already approaching the third race!

Looks a basket-case to me. I look forward to more op-ed pices from Mr Mullin on future developments and the announcement of whos the new man in tote.
Pause Switch to Standard View Jonathan Mullin and the Irish Tote
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Report wildmanfromborneo June 7, 2012 3:09 PM BST
Seems like a bogus excuse to me,wants to relocate to Galway,he could easily commute from Galway no hassle now with the new roads.
Who leaves a highly paid job to do nothing for alleged family reasons.
Brian Kavanagh thanks Dryden for returning the Tote to profit,well thats not true.
Report RoyalAcademy June 7, 2012 3:31 PM BST
murphyjust.
Date Joined: 31 Jan 04 Add contact When: 14 May 12 16:59
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Robertson+named+as+Tote+Ireland+manager.-a0264051785

I presume the reason someone with a hospital background was appointed was that the thing is terminally ill?

I had the misfortune of being involved in the previous selection process with these jokers and the whole episode was embarrassing. Brian Kavanagh in particular came out of it smelly of nothing but manure.

To be fair to Drydon Geary, I think he's done a fair job in horrifically difficult circumstances (and no, I don't know the guy at all)


I'd say the powers that be disagree murphy.
Report soapp June 7, 2012 6:16 PM BST
Dryden used come on here in the past.

He always did a very good job with the dead wood he was given.

The latest blow for me is the jackpot. It had been guaranteed for at least 5k every meeting. In June it was decided to do away with this, just guaranteeing selective meetings. I did it at Kilbeggan ( approx €760 pool) and Naas ( approx 2.5k pool). At Listowel they had a pool of €500 one day. I won't be doing it any more now without the guarantee unless there is a carry over. Surely they could have maybe a 2.5k guarantee. People will get out of the habit of doing them so even when it will be guaranteed they may not do it.
Report maxheadroom June 7, 2012 7:26 PM BST
tote needs a cull of the overpaid lard arses starting at the very top.
Report 3winnersandasecond June 7, 2012 10:03 PM BST
HRI obviously recognised a star when they saw one as they recently promoted a new boss over the marketing department-Michael O'Rourke must be feeling a little blue.
As one of the few who posts anything worthwhile on this forum (the 2yo thread is particularly good) I don't like to contradict you RA but
From the recent press blurb...
Michael O'Rourke takes on the role of Director of Strategy and Marketing for Horse Racing Ireland with particular responsibility for strategic planning within HRI and for raising awareness levels and interest in racing generally, particularly via new media.  Barbara White, reporting to Michael O'Rourke, will be Marketing Manager, with responsibility for consumer advertising, promotions and direct marketing.

maxheadroom
tote needs a cull of the overpaid lard arses starting at the very top.

Whom exactly do you mean Max? I think one of the main problems is that there hasn't been strong and independent leadership and vision for the Tote in recent years and much of this has arisen because of a lack of senior management. The spat between BF and HRI which ended up with them coming off this site was a cause of real damage to them.
In my opinion there are some really good people working in the organization (I think DG was one) and it should have a role to play in the future of Irish racing...Pay someone a proper performance-related wage and tackle all those anomolies, glitches and shoddy practices.

PS Anyone know how to do a trifecta with one horse as a place banker in a single bet thru' their website??
Report RoyalAcademy June 7, 2012 10:44 PM BST
3winners: you may be right but my interpretation is that they have given ITM's Michael O'Hagan a role that is now some way superior to O'Rourke and I'd be very surprised if this isn't causing him some pain.

O'Hagan goes from gm of ITM to the grandiose title of HRI Dir of Comms & Int'l Affairs-wow!

I have a very jaundiced view about ITM myself and can't see it deserves many plaudits for helping to shift/export a lot of the over-production problem for next to nothing. Perfectly willing to accept i'm wrong but I have my doubts. Goldhawk occasionally gets the leaks from inside HRI and I will watch his column with some interest.

soapp: I hope that DG doesn't turn to be that guy "poohna" because he should have kept his head down trying to defend matters that bore no reasonable explanation. There are times when saying nothing is best!

I wouldn't envy any new head of tote: I think independence is probably compromised all the time by hri and its unlikely the union issues will ever go away. imo it all goes back to a subject ive droned on about over the years: no-one in hri understands the punter (even the bookmakers have a seat on the board) and what drives him and side-shows will always take preference over engaging and giving the punter what he wants. I closed my account years ago and they've a long way to go to get my custom back. (I can see the powers that be scratching their heads and asking: "what the punter wants?")
Report maxheadroom June 8, 2012 11:16 AM BST
2008 figures for kavanagh.. he remuneration package of the Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland for the period ended 31st December 2008 is as follows:
Basic Salary €187k (€163k)
Pension Contributions and other Taxable Benefits €61k (€51k)
Long-Term Performance Related Remuneration €65k (€41k)
Total Package €313k (€255k)
wasnt there a row over the addional bonuses and expense claims that had to be handed back, good article by mcclean http://donnmcclean.com/2010/11/16/iba-v-hri/
Report 3winnersandasecond June 12, 2012 8:31 PM BST
O'Hagan resigns from post at HRI

RACING: Just three weeks after being appointed as Horse Racing Ireland’s new director of communications, Michael O’Hagan has resigned with immediate effect.

The 51-year-old, who has also resigned as chief executive of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, said last evening he was leaving both posts for “purely personal reasons”.  O’Hagan said: “I’ve been in this job for 11 years and while I’ve loved it, there is an awful lot of travelling and I simply want to spend some time at home.

“I’ve given a lot of time to this industry and now I think I should give more time to my family. It’s time for a change. I was asked to take up a new position and I felt it was right to make a decision now rather than six months down the line.”

After a HRI board meeting yesterday, a statement said O’Hagan’s resignation was accepted with immediate effect and he was leaving to pursue private business interests.

HRI’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “Michael offered his resignation and it was accepted at a board meeting this morning.”



Don't think O'Hagan was enamoured by his new role....
Report RoyalAcademy June 12, 2012 10:43 PM BST
i am amazed by this and I guessed that there was more to the whole saga than meets the eye when I posted that O'Rourke might have had his nose out of joint.

I don't buy these "personal reasons" for a moment from the Minister's White-haired-boy any more that I buy the dryden statement.

There's something very strange going on in hri.....
Report murphyjust. June 13, 2012 12:09 PM BST
can't believe they haven't give Drydon Geary the gig, he was fully entitled to a shot at it. A complete and utter crowd of jokers IMO
Report murphyjust. June 13, 2012 12:09 PM BST
can't believe they haven't give Drydon Geary the gig, he was fully entitled to a shot at it. A complete and utter crowd of jokers IMO
Report The Gotchee June 13, 2012 12:13 PM BST
Looks like HRI is going into freefall. The Chief Executive is going to have to earn his big fat salary this year just to keep the ship afloat. The Tote has shown shocking returns over the past 5 years  Dryden Geary did nothing to reverse that trend. ITM  rode the wave of the Celtic Tiger and their results are hard to evaluate. Always thought they were overstaffed and they got a tidy budget.
Report RoyalAcademy June 13, 2012 12:56 PM BST
ITM chose easy targets for years: trade shows and trade delegations, sponsoring races at home and abroad, giving free flights to inward buyers, helping breeders to get rid of surplus stock at give-away prices. Spend, spend spend because the money is free and available! If ITM were responsible for the "public" debate that took place at Leopardstown it was a complete and utter waste of money. The only opportunity to quiz the powers-that-be and it was a "written questions in advance" format. Myself and two friends asked some "hard" questions (amateur, silver-spoon-in-the-mouth stewarding, drugs and non-triers) but they were ignored by the MC (a pretty, insider girl from PR and little else). What a joke and no-one able to be objective.

Two clear issues for any person responsible for promoting Irish racing and thoroughbreds: find people to put horses in training in Ireland and find wealthy people to buy Irish horses-not guys depending on a free two-hundred euro plane ticket. Simples!

Take at look at their websites: about ten years out of date and reflective of a lack of innovation and style.

As for the Tote, as The Gotchee says, its a disaster area-complete and utter.

The reasons are for both organisations being incompetent are clear to me: no accountability thanks to it being a semi-stater, far too many factional interests with their collective heads in the trough, big fat salaries to big fat executives (remember the Kananagh bonus scandal?), no intrinsic understanding of either marketplaces-betting or raising and selling stock, general managers, chief executives and now! directors of international affairs (!) appointed with no gravitas or sufficient understanding of the nature of the job or marketplace (even against the chairman's wishes), way behind the socail media curve, the customer (punter and breeder) not king etcetera, etcetera, etcetera..................................

I wonder what Coveney thinks of all this. He was apparently keen on O'Hagan and his nominee lasts two weeks in the job beating the former Tote manager's tenure by 5 months. There's no movement on the new betting legislation (I once heard that HRI/Tote might have been in favour of slots-I couldn't comment on this as it seems so far-fetched and appalling, if true), the much-heralded review into certain aspects of the industry by Indecon is due to be published (economists that really understand the industry no doubt), the head of HRI is due to stand down and the Tote licence is soon up for renewal. Lots to happen and keep me amused.
Report 3winnersandasecond June 13, 2012 10:32 PM BST
Indecon...(economists that really understand the industry no doubt), Ah yes Indecon, International Economic Consultants...the name presumably is some abbreviation of independent economists...unfortunately they are anything but...
Report 3winnersandasecond June 14, 2012 11:36 AM BST
Looks like O'Hagan's resignation was caused by something other than the "reshuffle". Today's Examiner has the story...

Wife’s deals see horse director quit post
By Conor Ryan Investigative Correspondent

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The new director of international affairs at Horse Racing Ireland has resigned after twice being sanctioned for a serious conflict of interest involving his wife’s business.

Michael O’Hagan, also the chief executive of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, quit with immediate effect on Monday.

His shock departure was accepted after HRI disciplined him because his wife, Josephine Maher O’Hagan, acted as a private sales consultant to ITM’s Chinese clients. A key part of Mr O’Hagan’s job was to fly buyers into the country, entertain them, and organise deals. While they were brought over to look at thoroughbred racehorses, they also bought showjumpers through Mrs O’Hagan’s business, China Ireland Consultancy. HRI said these deals breached its code of ethics.

His resignation came four months after he was disciplined for an identical issue.

HRI said it received anonymous correspondence in February regarding transactions involving Mrs O’Hagan. It said while some claims could not be verified, there "was evidence of a breach of our code of conduct and ethics regarding conflicts of interest".

The HRI said there was no evidence that any of its money was misappropriated. However, it had discovered sufficient information to sanction Mr O’Hagan.

Despite this, in May, Mr O’Hagan was promoted to become the HRI’s director of communications and international affairs.

HRI said it was subsequently alerted to evidence that the couple’s business "behaviour had not ceased in its entirety".

This related to another deal involving Mrs O’Hagan. It is understood there was scrutiny surrounding the sale of one showjumper to an Asian client in March.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Hagan denied there was any wrongdoing. He said that all of the Chinese clients involved also bought racehorses.

"There were a considerable number of thoroughbred sales done as well that are nothing to do with anything you referred to."

Mr O’Hagan said he regretted that his reputation would now be tarnished. "I have worked for the industry my entire life and I have what I hope is very clear and good reputation around the world as somebody who has put the Irish industry and the Irish thoroughbred industry to the fore."

In 2011, ITM and HRI spent €34,527 accommodating and entertaining Chinese clients who were invited to look at thoroughbreds, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show. It also spent €15,067 sending its staff, including Mr O’Hagan, to China to develop trade links.

The HRI said, following its initial investigation, the department was made aware that there were findings against Mr O’Hagan.
Report RoyalAcademy June 14, 2012 12:23 PM BST
These "rumours" had been knocking around for months and it seemed that O'Hagan had weathered the initial storm after a formal reprimand. I was flabbergasted to see that the Minister was prepared to take a chance on an executive with a dirty copybook and actually decided to PROMOTE him knowing his behaviour had been questioned and had been found to be unethical (to put it mildly). This suggests either the Minister was incredibly naive or he was very poorly advised by his department and, by inference, HRI.

We are now entitled to know:
1. why did the matter suddenly re-surface? I don't buy the "another deal" last March for a second. I suspect a whistle-blower decided he/she had enoough of the hypocrisy and HRI were forced to act.
2. why did O'Hagan prosper after his wrongdoing-who made the original call to "forgive and forget?"
3. When a former Tote chief was found to be behaving in an unethical manner a number of years ago he was forced to walk the plank-why not this geezer?
4. And here's the question that will make all our collective stomachs turn when we discover the truth: how much of a pay-off of taxpayers money did O'Hagan get to "resign" when we all know he was fired.

The individual in question would not have been very popular and made lots of enemies along the way. It seems that someone with a nasty grudge has succeeded where HRI failed. The sound of tinkling you hear in the background is schadenfreude.

I think Coveney's honeymoon with the industry is well and truly over and suddenly the impending issues now have a greater impact. He looks a moron after this affair. More low standards in high places.

Finally, I look forward to Leo Powell's reaction this weekend having been THE numero uno fan of said disgraced ITM head for years. I have to say I am pleased that such sychophantic journalism is shown up for what it is.

hashtag#circlethewagons
Report The Gotchee June 14, 2012 5:29 PM BST
I have to agree RA. There are more questions than answers to come out of this sorry saga. Will he get a pension and a remuneration package?
Report wildmanfromborneo June 14, 2012 9:47 PM BST
I too look forward to Leo Powells comments,it seems they are trying to emulate the board of the National Stud in mixing personal business with the boards.
Report silvergreaser June 15, 2012 1:47 AM BST
Oh how lucky HRI are, never had to pander to a betting public unlike nearly every other racing jurisdiction!.

Down on bended knees every year, clasping their hands over their eyes every budget hoping?
The betting public don't exist never existed, the Turd Club is just that The Turd Club, such is the quango they are, all they worry about is how much and where we'll spread the money around our vast vested interests?
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