RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced Monday that President & CEO Mike Houghton will be departing the organization. Going forward, RARA’s Board of Directors will fulfill the CEO roles and responsibilities.
According to Mike Major, Chairman of RARA's Board of Directors, the change is being made as part of its "ongoing effort to revise and evolve its organizational structure and business model to ensure long-term sustainability." The Board of Directors had recently been restructured, and they cited changes to how the organization would be governed, and a need to restructure the day-to-day operations in light of financial challenges as reasons for the departure.
“Collectively, we would like to express our gratitude to Mike for his leadership and professionalism over the last 15 years,” said Major. “Mike has helped to guide this organization through some very significant challenges and some great successes. This is an extremely difficult decision but, in light of current circumstances and financial restraints, we felt that it was in the best interest of the Air Races.”
The National Championship Air Races, the only event of its kind in the world, will celebrate 51 years in 2014. But the event continues to grapple with the financial challenges left in the wake of the 2011 tragedy, with costs having since quadrupled.
Major said operating costs alone have risen by nearly $3 million in the last two years, driven primarily by insurance. "This situation has forced us to really step back and take a look at how this event is run, redirecting and streamlining our efforts to increase sponsorships and create a more dynamic fan experience. Our foremost priority as a board is to keep the Reno Air Races tradition alive for another 50 years."
"Mike (Houghton) has been a friend and mentor to those of us in the air race family for many years. We appreciate the dedication Mike has given the organization and the community and wish him the very best of luck going forward."