Racing Australia has appointed former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell as its new chief executive.

O’Farrell has served in the NSW Parliament for 20 years, including as premier between 2011 and 2014. He replaces Peter McGauran as head of the racing body, who is stepping down after five years in the role.

Commenting on O’Farrell's appointment, the board of Racing Australia said: “Mr O’Farrell was selected from a highly credentialed group of applicants for the position. He is an innovative and experienced leader who will bring his demonstrable skills to the organization.”

O’Farrell is best known in the gaming industry for his recent review into illegal iGaming operations targeting Australian customers, with the federal government accepting 18 of the 19 recommendations from the O’Farrell Report in April this year.

O’Farrell will assume his leadership role at Racing Australia in late January.