THE Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Hensey as the incoming chief executive officer. He will officially take over the reins from Paddy Walsh, who is set to retire from the role after over two decades, on March 31st.

No stranger to the horse racing industry, Hensey brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role. He has been working abroad within the bloodstock industry for some time, most recently serving as chief operating officer at Al Shaqab Racing, a role which saw him travelling mainly between Doha in Qatar and France. Previously, he worked with the former Turf Club for six years.

However, Hensey is probably best known on the Irish racing scene for his former role at the Curragh Racecourse, where he managed the racecourse and the extensive training grounds for almost 15 years. While working at the Curragh he was an active member of the Association of Irish Racecourses. During this time, the popular manager was elected by the membership to serve two terms on the board of AIR.

The Association of Irish Racecourses is a not-for-profit organisation which represents the collective interests of those who own and operate Ireland’s 26 racecourses nationwide.

Recruitment process

Conor O’Neill, chairman of AIR, said after the board meeting on Thursday which approved the new appointment: “Over the last few months, AIR has embarked on a competitive public recruitment process to find our incoming CEO. This extensive search was expertly handled on our behalf by Principal Connections, who are part of Agilium Worldwide LLC, one of the world’s top global executive search groups.

“Following a meeting of the board of AIR this afternoon, I am delighted to announce that Paul Hensey’s appointment was formally approved. Paul will take over the reins from Paddy Walsh when he retires from office at the end of March. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Paul on his appointment and welcome him on behalf of the board and our members.

“I would also like to take this opportunity again to thank our outgoing CEO Paddy Walsh, who has played an integral role in the Association, and indeed the wider industry, for decades. It has been my pleasure to work alongside him during my time as chairman of the Association, and although we still have plenty of work to do between now and then, I wish him the very best for his retirement.”


Speaking of the announcement, Hensey commented: “I am delighted with the appointment and feel this role really plays to my strengths. I am extremely proud of and passionate about the Irish horse racing product, and I’m very much looking forward to getting involved in the racecourse side of the industry once again.

“Having been a member of the Association of Irish Racecourses for many years, I am keenly aware of the importance of this organisation, and the role it plays for our members, and I am very much looking forward to getting started.”

Paul will commence working with the Association in late January in order to facilitate a smooth handover, and will officially take office at the end of March.

For more information, and to stay up to date on the work of the Association of Irish Racecourses, visit or follow the Association of Irish Racecourses’ LinkedIn page.