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The Nevada Independent

Las Vegas Grand Prix chief operating officer departs after five months

Betsy Fretwell says she developed a solid business plan, improved communications with local entities as F1 prepares for its second LV race.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
EconomyFormula 1Sports
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Betsy Fretwell, who joined the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix in January as its chief operating officer, resigned from her position Friday saying she was returning to her private consulting practice.

Fretwell, who spent three decades in the public sector and private business leadership roles including nine years as the city manager for Las Vegas, was overseeing community relations as part of her job duties, including navigating the fallout from disruptions to local businesses from last year’s race preparations.

“Over the last several months while serving as the COO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, we developed a solid plan for this year’s race, established clear lines of communication with governing agencies and furthered critical community relationships,” Fretwell said in a statement provided by R&R Partners, which has worked with Formula One.

“I’m confident that I’m leaving the [Las Vegas Grand Prix] in a stronger position and wish them every success,” Fretwell said.

Renee Wilm, the CEO of the Grand Prix and the chief legal officer for Liberty Media Corp., the owners of Formula One, said in a statement that Fretwell “played a critical role for us as we navigate the complexities of a race of this magnitude in Las Vegas.

In March, Fretwell oversaw the announcement of early sales exclusively for Nevada residents of 7,000 general admission tickets to this year’s three-day race.

Fretwell was responsible for the year-round operation of the race, including developing a business surrounding Grand Prix Plaza, the $500 million centerpiece for the annual race.

In an interview with The Nevada Independent in March, Fretwell said the first year of the race was a learning experience for everyone, including the casino industry. She said all parties now have a better understanding of how the race can appeal to different customer segments.

“It was a new event and it was complicated because it was a street circuit,” Fretwell said. “We have to make sure all these businesses have openings and closings.”

Fretwell’s departure leaves the Grand Prix without a day-to-day local leader. Wilm hinted that she would step into that role.

“In our inaugural year, my focus was intently on the establishment and operation of the race,” Wilm said. “I now intend to bring that same energy and attention to the Las Vegas community as a whole, this year and for years to come. We wish Betsy nothing but the best.”

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