The man responsible for the diversification of Churchill Downs Inc. took another step into retirement, the Louisville-based gambling and online games company announced Thursday.
In a brief statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company announced without explanation that breeder and businessman G. Watts Humphrey Jr. is now its board chairman.
He replaces former CDI CEO Bob Evans, who went from president and CEO starting in 2006, to executive chairman and CEO in 2014 and, most recently, chairman since last year. Although the release didn’t specify, Evans, who also is a thoroughbred breeder, remains on the board, according to the company’s website.
Early Thursday, a list of directors showed Evans as chairman still. Later, it listed him only as a member and the president of his Tenlane Farm in Woodford County.
Evans arrived at Churchill in 2006 and took the longtime racetrack company that ran the Kentucky Derby into areas such as online thoroughbred wagering, casinos and, while chairman, into online games.
The diversification helped Churchill avoid the bankruptcies that dogged other major racing entities, namely the former Magna Entertainment Corp. and the New York Racing Association.
Also under Evans’ tenure, the company’s stock reached record levels — albeit with criticism from some in the horse industry about the company’s profit focus.