New CEO named for Magna unit

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New CEO named for Magna unit Former banker takes the reins Big losses plague racetrack division

Magna Entertainment Corp., the biggest horse-track owner in North America, has bucked its chief executive officer and put a former banker in the saddle to rein in heavy losses.

Aurora-based Magna Entertainment revealed yesterday that it has replaced Jim McAlpine and appointed ex-bank and trust company executive Tom Hodgson as chief executive.

The company said McAlpine becomes vice-chairman of corporate development and will remain a member of the company’s executive management committee.

The moves follows losses of more than $200 million (U.S.) at Magna Entertainment during the last two years and concerns about debt levels while the company embarks on track renovations and betting initiatives.

Company chairman Frank Stronach, who is trying to build an international racetrack, gambling and broadcasting empire, said in a statement that the company needs to concentrate on financial and operating discipline at many operations.

“Tom brings a very strong financial background to MEC and he, together with the other members of the MEC executive management committee, will ensure that MEC maintains that focus,” said Stronach, who controls the company indirectly through auto-parts colossus Magna International Inc.

Hodgson joined the board of Magna Entertainment’s parent company MI Developments last September and has worked as a consultant on the racetrack and gambling company.

Before his involvement with MI Developments, Hodgson was president of Strategic Analysis Corp. and held senior posts with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canada Permanent Trust Co., Marathon Asset Management Inc. and GlobalNetFinancial.com. He was president of the latter three companies.

McAlpine, chief financial officer at Magna International during the free-wheeling 1980s, has been president and chief executive of Magna Entertainment for more than four years over agen poker online terpercaya 

The shift will allow McAlpine, who owns an auto dealership in Aurora, more time for several Magna Entertainment projects including seeking legislative approvals for slot machines at tracks in several U.S. states, according to company officials.

The company, whose stock price increased 20 cents (Canadian) to $8.45 a share after the shake-up, has experienced significant executive turnover since its inception in 2000 as it attempts to generate sufficient revenues while spending heavily on track improvements and betting initiatives.

Magna Entertainment lost $95.6 million (U.S.) on revenue of $731.5 million in 2004. It posted red ink of $105 million on sales of $708.9 million during 2003.