JOHN Osborne has been “almost embarrassed” by the large number of goodwill messages he has received since revealing this week that he is not going forward for a second term as chief executive of the Irish National Stud.

Appointed to the role in 2010, Osborne steered the INS through a difficult period and the stud’s most recently published accounts returned a yearly profit of €2.5 million, up €700,000 on the previous year.

In accordance with guidelines covering the appointment of semi-state chief executives, the position was recently advertised but it was widely expected in bloodstock circles that Osborne would reapply and be reappointed.

The INS is a state body answerable to the Department of Agriculture, similar to Horse Racing Ireland. The recent decision to reappoint the HRI chief executive for a third term saw much criticism aimed at the Minister for Agriculture.

Osborne said: “I have told the board they can rely on me for as long as they want this year to ensure there is a smooth transition. The focus now is on the breeding season and bookings are strong. Invincible Spirit, Free Eagle and Dragon Pulse have been particularly well supported.”

INS chairman Matt Dempsey said: “It is difficult to pay adequate tribute to John and the effect he has had on the Irish National Stud and the wider equestrian world. He has re-established the Irish National Stud as one of the premier studs in the world as well as developing its tourism offering, stud services and stud management course.

“In over 40 years of dealing with the Irish public service, he encapsulates all that is best in terms of capacity and integrity. We wish him every possible success in whatever future direction he takes. We also thank his wife Valerie and family for the unstinting support they gave him in what was an extremely demanding post. He has done the State and the wider thoroughbred industry an enormous service.”