Stewart will depart at the end of August after serving as chair for what Tab NZ described as a “transformative” two years.
During the latter part of his tenure, Stewart played a key role in securing the new strategic partnership with Entain. Announced in March, Entain is supporting Tab NZ with delivering wagering and broadcast functions in New Zealand. The deal runs for 25 years.
“It’s been a rewarding couple of years on the Tab NZ board,” Stewart said. “More importantly, we’ve delivered a sustainable long-term outcome for our stakeholders through the Entain partnership.
“I have the utmost confidence in the remaining board and management team continuing to build on the Entain partnership for the benefit of our country.”
Tab NZ CEO Nick Roberts paid tribute to the outgoing Stewart. He said: “We have been incredibly lucky to have had access to Mark’s unparalleled experience and unique skillset.
“His leadership at Tab NZ has changed the lives of tens of thousands of Kiwis, from those in our sporting communities to those whose jobs are reliant on the domestic racing industry.
Modernising gambling in New Zealand
Stove’s appointment as interim chair has been approved by New Zealand’s minister for racing, Kieran McAnulty.
Stove takes on the role having been deputy chair since August 2021, when Stewart began his tenure. She was also previously a member of the Racing Industry Transition Agency Board.
“I am very excited to be picking up the reins as we pay particular focus to working with the government on modernising New Zealand’s gambling settings,” Stove said.
Tab NZ also confirmed another change to its board. Jason Fleming has resigned and taken up the new role of general manager for commercial at Tab NZ.
Bill Birnie, Wendie Harvey and Raewyn Lovett remain on the board alongside Stove.
Funding boost from Tab NZ-Entain deal
The announcement comes following the successful roll-out of the Entain partnership, which began on 1 June.
In the opening months, Tab NZ said this has delivered a funding boost to the three New Zealand Racing Codes, Sport NZ and the 37 national sporting organisations that have a sports betting agreement with Tab NZ.
Upon announcing the deal earlier in the year, Tab NZ said it entered the partnership due to increasing competition, rising costs, capital constraints and other challenges. These, it said, have impacted its ability to deliver adequate funding to racing and sports.
Entain published an update on the arrangement shortly after it came into effect. This includes that Entain is committed to a minimum annual return of NZ$150m back to Tab NZ, with this set to take place within the first five years of the deal.