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Former Sky Channel and Tatts Group executive Brendan Parnell has been appointed as the new chief executive of Racing Queensland.

He replaces Eliot Forbes who resigned last month amid speculation he had fallen out with several industry figures over the delays with remedial work at Eagle Farm racecourse.

Parnell is the seventh person to fill the chief executive role at RQ on a full-time or interim basis in the past seven years.

He will begin his new role on May 14 and will relocate from Sydney to Brisbane to fill the job.

He takes over the key job in the Queensland racing industry at the start of the winter carnival.

Racing in Queensland has suffered with the closure of Eagle Farm., the state’s premier racetrack, for most of the past four years.

Parnell faces the task of lifting morale in the industry as well as restoring public confidence in the sport.

RQ’s chairman Steve Wilson said Parnell was well qualified to lead the administrative body into a new era of prosperity and growth.

“We engaged the best executive recruitment specialists to find candidates for this important role and Brendan Parnell stood out as offering a diverse set of skills and capabilities that we feel will benefit racing across all three codes. We welcome him to the role,” Wilson said in a statement.

Parnell was most recently the chief operating officer, wagering, of Tatts Group, which operated UBET before Tatts Group’s merger with Tabcorp in December 2017.

He has also held senior roles at Tabcorp and Sky Channel and has undertaken a senior executive program at Stanford University.

“Racing in Queensland is a massive sport and business which impacts almost every town and community across the sunshine state,” Parnell said.

“How we connect and enhance racing is critical for its more than 41,000 participants. I’m excited by that challenge and the many opportunities in coming years.”

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