Preliminary reports from the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) executive committee meeting, held Aug. 22-23 in Fort Worth, Texas, indicate that Jim Bret Campbell has been relieved of his duties as executive director of the association.
Since 2012, the NCHA has had five executive directors – three of whom were hired as permanent employees and two who served on an interim basis. Prior to that, Jeff Hooper served as executive director for 11 1/2 years. Following Hooper’s resignation in February 2012, the well-respected, recently retired AQHA Executive Vice President Bill Brewer agreed to work as interim executive director and lead the search for a full-time replacement. Brewer stayed with NCHA until the association hired Alan Steen, a former Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission administrator. Steen started the job on June 1 and resigned on Aug. 21. He later filed a lawsuit against the NCHA, claiming he had been forced out of the job after questioning several business practices. The lawsuit was settled by the end of 2012.
Ernie Beutenmiller Jr., then-NCHA president, stepped in as interim executive director starting September 2012. Internal turmoil extended beyond the association’s staff, as evidenced by the resignation of NCHA’s elected vice president Mike Rutherford Jr. on Nov. 14, 2012.
The NCHA turned to MJM Global Search Inc. in mid-January 2013 to assist in its quest to find a full-time leader of its approximately 16,000-member organization. Campbell’s appointment was announced in May and he took the reins on June 10, 2013.
Campbell and NCHA President Chuck Smith were not immediately available for comment. More details will be provided as they become available.
UPDATED ON AUG. 24 AT 4:05 p.m. (CDT) — The NCHA posted a statement on its website regarding Campbell’s release. The statement reads: “The National Cutting Horse Association announces that, effective immediately, Jim Bret Campbell is no longer serving as the Executive Director of the NCHA. The Association has decided to move in a different direction, and both parties have agreed that this transition is in the best interest of all involved. The NCHA thanks Jim Bret Campbell for his service and wishes him the best of luck in the future. The NCHA will immediately begin its search for a new Executive Director. NCHA President Chuck Smith will serve as interim Executive Director until a new Executive Director is identified to take the Association into the future.” —NCHA Executive Committee