CHESTER Race Company, which runs the historic Chester Racecourse, has named its new boss.

The Board of the Chester Race Company is delighted to announce that Louise Stewart, currently CEO of the world-famous Alexandra Park and Palace in London, is joining as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Louise is a highly experienced, high-achieving and commercially focused leisure, tourism, and events professional.

As CEO of ‘Ally Pally’, a role she’s held for over six years, Louise created a new 25-year vision for the iconic sports and entertainment venue, a key part of which was strengthening the commercial operation and investing in the visitor experience to significantly improve its financial performance.

Before this, Louise was Deputy CEO of Visit England and held senior roles at both One North East and Yorkshire Forward Regional Development Agencies.

She succeeds former Chester Race Company CEO Richard Thomas, who was at the helm for over 20 years, with the company winning numerous awards for its hospitality services and driving forward the growth at Chester Racecourse.

But, following a thorough investigation into recent misuse of Chester Race Company resources to support a personal project, he was sacked in May this year.

Commenting on Louise’s appointment, Ian O’Doherty, chair of Chester Race Company, said: “The Board and I are thrilled that Louise is joining us as our new CEO.

"Her vast professional experience, proven commercial ability and passion for people-focused leadership will bring so much to our organisation. We have a brilliant team and a strong platform in place in our business, and with Louise at the helm, we will develop and grow in the years ahead.

“Coming from outside racing, Louise will bring a fresh and exciting perspective to our business, and she will be supported in her role by our board and team who are steeped in racing; none more so than our directors Lisa Hancock and Charles Barnett, the former CEOs of Newmarket and Ascot racecourses respectively. Charles is also serving as our interim CEO.

“There’s no doubt that the past two years have been difficult for the Chester Race Company – as they have for any sports and leisure organisation - but we had a strong post-lockdown come-back season at our three racecourses this year and with Louise leading us forward, I know we’re going to build on that in 2022 and beyond. Louise will join us in the first quarter of 2022 and will play a big role in getting us ready for our May Festival in Chester.”

Louise added: “This is a really exciting new role for me, and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to lead Chester Race Company, our three wonderful racecourses in Chester, Bangor-on-Dee and Musselburgh, and of course our many hospitality, conferencing, and events businesses, as we move forwards.

“Most of all, I’m excited about meeting everyone who makes up the Chester Racecourse company family – our shareholders, our sponsors and partners, our owners and trainers, our members and customers, and the amazing team I’ve heard so much about.”