The United States Equestrian Federation Board of Directors elected Murray S. Kessler as its next President at the Mid-Year BOD Meeting in Gladstone, N.J. on Tuesday. The President ultimately presides over the volunteer leadership structure of the USEF. Since 1917, only 13 individuals have served in the presidential role. Kessler will officially take office at the USEF Annual Meeting in January 2017. In the interim, he will work with current President, Chrystine Tauber, and the USEF staff on the implementation of a new strategic plan, also approved by the BOD Tuesday, and ensuring a smooth leadership transition.

Kessler comes to this position with extensive experience in horse sports, governance, and business. He and his wife, Teri, have been involved in horse sports for over 45 years at every level, from local grassroots competitions, to national hunter/jumper competitions, to the 2012 Olympic Games where their daughter, Reed, represented the United States. He has served on the Boards of the North American Riders Group, the USET Foundation, and the USEF. At the USEF, he chairs the Governance Committee, leads the strategic planning process, and serves on the Mileage Rule Revision Task Force.

Murray Kessler with daughter Reed. ©Kenneth Kraus/Phelps Sports

Murray Kessler with daughter Reed. ©Kenneth Kraus/Phelps Sports

On the business side, Kessler is currently a Director on the Board of Reynolds-American, Incorporated. Prior to that, he spent 15 years as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of two Fortune 500 companies. His professional career has given him a broad skill set consisting of financial, audit, governance, management, marketing, sponsorship, strategic planning, and operational expertise.

“I am honored the Board has elected me to lead this great Federation and I am excited to build upon the solid foundation Chrystine Tauber put in place,” said Kessler. “I believe the top level of our sport is in excellent shape and that the U.S. Equestrian Teams are well positioned for success at the Olympic Games this summer in Rio. However, there is much work to be done to increase access to and encourage participation in equestrian sports at all levels. The recognition that every member, every affiliate, and every discipline is important and serves a purpose to the overall success of the Federation will be fundamental to my tenure. Our vision is: To bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible.”

Tauber stated, “Murray’s unique combination of equestrian and business experience provides him with the ability and expertise to lead this organization. I look forward to working with him for a seamless transition.”

USEF Interim CEO Bill Moroney added, “Murray’s leadership promises to change the USEF into a consumer oriented organization with quality products and superior customer service that appeals to a diverse group of horse sport enthusiasts. The USEF staff looks forward to the benefits of Murray’s experience and the opportunity for professional development.”