Swiss entrepreneur Pierre Genecand has declared his candidacy for the FEI presidency.
The 64-year-old is the first person to declare his interest in the role, with the member nations of the world governing body to vote on the next president at the FEI General Assembly in Dubai in mid-December.
Princess Haya is required to step down from the role at that time, as required under FEI statutes, which sets a maximum tenure of two four-year terms.
However, member nations are to vote on a statute change in Lausanne, Switzerland, in a fortnight which could extend the maximum tenure to three terms. The princess has yet to indicate whether she would stand for re-election, should the proposed statute change be passed.
Genecand, with a passion for polo and a background in finance and management, has the backing of the Swiss National Federation. He spends most of his time between Switzerland and South America, where he breeds horses in Argentina.
He is a former long-term president of the Concours Hippique International in Geneva and cites a long history of involvement in equestrian sport.
Genecand, who can speak French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, said the FEI had made much progress under Princess Haya.
“The federation managed to increase its financial incomes through commercial revenues and enhance broadcast of championships and series worldwide.
“The tremendous work accomplished by Princess Haya and all at the FEI is widely acknowledged and recognised. The FEI is now more ready than ever to face the different challenges ahead of us.
“After those eight successful years led by a remarkably visionary president, the time has now come for necessary change in order to keep the dynamic of the FEI alive and to stabilise what has been established.”
Genecand, who works in international finance, said he held Swiss and Italian passports and spends six months of the year across South America, where he is based.
He said his travel gave him a worldwide vision of equestrian sports.
“I am willing to put my knowledge of sports and business, as well as my never-ending energy to serve equestrian sports and help focus the attention back on the sport itself rather than on commercial aspects only.”
Genecand said he aimed for worldwide television coverage for all FEI championships at the very least.
“We need to place equestrian sports back on major channels and work for a greater understanding and recognition of our sport by general media.”
Genecand said he wanted greater communication between governing bodies and all stakeholders through regular meetings, at which issues could be addressed and solved in the best interest of the sport.
“I strongly believe that all stakeholders are vital elements of the sport and that every voice needs to be heard when it comes to deciding of the future of our sport. It is a never-ending task and some may say it is a dream, but all great accomplishments started from a dream.”
Genecand, who holds a business degree, started his career in international insurance and pension funds. He rose to take over as the owner and chairman of the board of directors of Gesrep SA in 1982. The firm rapidly expanded to become one of the most successful insurance companies in Switzerland.
Gesrep was sold to Aon in 2005.
He has held several board roles with banks since.
From 1995 to 2003, he was the vice-president of the Swiss Association of Insurance Brokers.
Genecand, who described himself as having 40 years of experience in national jumping competitions, became president of the prestigious Concours Hippique International in 1989 and instituted major changes, which proved successful and raised its international profile.
During his time as show president, he got involved in various aspects of equestrian sports, he said.
From 1991 to 2003, he was a member of the World Cup Committee.
He became a board member of Swiss Top Sports, the association of the biggest sports events in Switzerland.
From 1992 to 2003, he has been a member of the Alliance of Jumping Organisers.
He was also a member of the organising committee of the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games in Rome, Italy.
In 2000, he was hired as a slotter for the television co-ordination of equestrian sports at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Genecand developed a passion for polo, which led him to become the president of the Gstaad Polo Club and the Hublot Polo Gold Cup in 2006.