Greyhound Racing Ireland pleaded for a €27,000 hike in pay for its new chief executive along with the provision of a company car.
GRI said the existing €132,920 salary for the role had not been reviewed in many years and was “no longer reflective” of the remuneration packages for senior management positions in the public or private sector.
In an appeal to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, the organisation said the chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland was being paid €190,000 per year with a car and pension.
However, the board of GRI said they would be happy with a €160,000 salary for their new boss, a position that is expected to be filled in the coming months.
They also asked for a company car saying the organisation had nine stadia, which meant the chief executive would be required to travel on a regular basis to different locations.
In addition, they sought a “defined contribution pension – 25% of salary paid by [GRI]” as well as up to thirty days’ holidays, according to records released under FOI.
The letter from Greyhound Racing Ireland’s interim chief executive John Tuohey last November said recruitment for the position was at an advanced stage.
He forwarded an executive salary survey from recruitment firm Brightwater, which said average pay for a chief executive in general management and operations was €180,000.
Mr Tuohey said the current package on offer was for a seven-year contract, with a salary of €132,920 and a 25 per cent pension payment from GRI.
He wrote: “This remuneration package has been in place for many years and is considered to be no longer reflective of the remuneration packages for CEOs of similar size organisations in either the private or public sector.”
‘High calibre’ boss
Mr Tuohey said the salary was not just causing difficulty in recruiting a CEO, but also the “second tier executive management team” who would have to be paid less than their boss.
“The role of CEO … is multifaceted requiring a broad range of skill sets from financial acumen to regulatory compliance,” said the letter to the Minister.
It added that GRI was embarking on a new five-year strategic plan and that it was vital they were able to attract and retain a “high calibre” chief executive.
Mr Tuohey wrote: “The Board of Rásaíocht Con Éireann trust that the Minister will be in a position to consider this request favourably and will provide any further information that the Minister might require to assist with the evaluation of the request.”
The Department of Agriculture responded late in April this year, writing directly to the chair of GRI Frank Nyhan.
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Their letter said that following discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure, they were in position to sanction the new €160,000 package.
It would include a fixed-term contract for seven years, a choice of three pension options with a contribution of 25 per cent basic salary from GRI, and the use of a car.
The letter added: “The contract should be based on the standard CEO template, reflect the above terms, and be signed prior to the chief executive taking up the appointment.”
Asked about the records, Greyhound Racing Ireland said they had nothing further to add to them.