By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Former David Jones CEO Mark McInnes will return to corporate Australia in 2011 as a director of a soon-to-be-formed racing club.

According to News Limited papers, McInnes will be a director of a new entity formed by the merger of the Australian Jockey Club and the Sydney Turf Club. McInnes was forced to resign from his David Jones post amid lurid sexual harassment claims in June 2010.

In this new position, McInnes will be back in contact with many of his David Jones associates, with the department store a key corporate partner of racing in Australia. He will also be back in contact with leading trainer Gai Waterhouse. McInnes was instrumental in luring Ms Waterhouse into the David Jones fold, with the retailer engaging Ms Waterhouse’s services for brand promotion.

The most amusing footnote to this appointment will be McInnes’ new dealings with Myer. As the CEO of David Jones, McInnes was particularly successful in positioning David Jones as a superior brand to Myer. was there when McInnes derisively said that Myer was more targeted to lower socio-economic consumers.

“All of our new stores are in medium to high income demographies and two-thirds of our competitor’s stores are in low income and regional demographies,” McInnes said when asked to compare DJs and Myer.

With Myer a key supporter of racing in Australia — think the Myer Marquee — there could be some nervous handshakes on the way when he assumes this post in the New Year.

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