How the hell can an outfit that sells horses on behalf of an entire breeding industry employ two leading breeders as its two senior salaried executives?
Wouldn’t their personal interests clash with the broader interests of the breeding industry, and cause an irreconcilable conflict of interest between their paid role and their private business?
Isn’t there a clear potential for the pair who run the sales company to do things that might advantage their own private companies, or those that they work for or represent, to the detriment of others in the breeding industry?
I am not suggesting for a moment that either the CEO of Australian Pacing Gold (APG), Mr David Boydell, or the company’s Customer Relationship & Business Development Manager Mr John Coffey have done such a thing.
It doesn’t matter though – the potential for it to happen is too large to be acceptable, and their dual roles make it impossible for the industry to have a hundred percent confidence in the pair.
Mr Boydell is the proprietor of a stud farm named Pinaroo Park, which by his own reckoning was specifically set up as a specialist stud farm, breeding and preparing yearlings for the Australian Pacing Gold yearling sales in the the year 2005, and has been a large and active seller of horses through the APG sales ever since.
Just 2 years after he had established Pinaroo Park for the sole purpose of breeding and preparing yearlings to sell through the APG sales, David Boydell became the CEO of the organisation.
It was no coincidence that just three months after Boydell’s appointment, Pinaroo Park’s first draft of yearlings were sold at the APG sales, and continue to be sold exclusively through the ASIC registered company that he controls and runs.
John Coffey was the General Manager of the leading stud farm Alabar, and had been for more than two decades, when in 2018 he was appointed to the second most powerful role in the APG.
Coffey continued in his role at Alabar while working as effectively the Deputy CEO of the APG until this year, when he handed over the reins to his son. He continues to work on a consultancy basis for Alabar, and also works as a bloodstock consultant for the prominent northern Victorian breeder the Northern Rivers Equine Veterinary Clinic, in Kyabram, Victoria.
Both Alabar and the Northern Rivers Equine Veterinary Clinic are major standardbred breeders, and until recently had been long time large volume sellers through the APG, although recent announcements suggest that has changed (more of that later).
For now though consider the situation through a clear lens.
Imagine that the Federal Minister for Health owned and operated one the largest private hospital chain in the nation, and that his Deputy Minister was also the CEO of the third largest chain.
The Government decides that it is going to close down all public hospitals, and privatise the health system completely.
The Minister and his deputy are placed in charge of the outsourcing.
They get determine how the tender will be set, the selection criteria, the prices, the order of merit, the shortlist, and who gets the contracts.
The companies that they own or run bid, and win.
What do you reckon would happen to the Minister and his Deputy if it was discovered that they had hooked parts of the outsourcing process to benefit themselves?
Now I repeat, I am not saying for a second that either Boydell or Coffey have misused their positions for personal gain, or done anything untoward.
I’m sure they haven’t.
But gee, isn’t the potential there?
How could either man ever attend an APG board meeting, when almost every decision made there has an impact on their private interests?
How could the pair ever make any form of recommendation to the board?
How could they make day to day operational decisions that affect the APG’s clients, when they themselves are clients?
The simple answer is they couldn’t.
To say otherwise is absurd.
But they have.
What sort of company is this APG?
Where are its proper governance measures?
When did the Corporations Act change to allow this sort of thing to happen?
Why aren’t the executives of APG independent?
Who actually thinks that this is okay?
APG receives large sums of public money via the State-funded racing authorities.
A significant proportion of these taxpayer funds are being applied for the benefit of companies owned, managed or closely associated with the company’s two senior executives.
This whole thing stinks.
We need to expose the smell, so we can eradicate it.