Towcester Racecourse chief executive Chris Palmer (34) is to sever an 11-year association with Lord Hesketh and start a new job with Ladbrokes
in February, reports the Northamptonshire Chronicle. Palmer will replace Alan Ross as corporate development director at the UK gambling giant.
Palmer is respected for pioneering the successful 'free admission' policy at Towcester which is now in its sixth season, and has also been managing director of the Hesketh Family Office, overseeing business and Hesketh family affairs during a period when the estate was sold and the racecourse was put up for sale. Palmer previously headed GG Media.
He jokingly referred to his new post as corporate development director as "...rather like being gamekeeper turned poacher."
"I decided it was time for me to grow and learn different skills," Palmer told the regional newspaper. "It's a new and exciting challenge, particularly in developing Ladbrokes's business in the UK and internationally. I hope my experience will help to bring the racing and betting parties closer together."
In September, Lord Hesketh put the racecourse up for sale for GBP10 million after the same figure had been spent on its improvement in the form of a new grandstand and stabling block facilities over a 10 year period. Palmer has been involved in negotiations with a number of interested parties.
Palmer will join Ladbrokes in February 2009.