Putting the Horse of the Year contract up for tender is standard business practice, says Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford.
Kevin Hansen has been the show's event manager for 18 years, in which time it has become the biggest equestrian event in the Southern Hemisphere and the region's largest.
His company Event Pro, will continue to manage this year's show but Mr Hansen will move to Australia for other business opportunities, citing "uncertainty" with future shows.
Mr Walford said tendering an existing contract was good governorship and a standard way to determine if an existing contract was at market rates.
"You could call for a tender not because you don't like the contractor, but because you want to make sure you are getting the best option in the market."
Chair of Horse of the Year (Hawke's Bay) Ltd, Cynthia Bowers, said it was loyal to Mr Hansen's record of achievement.
It took control of the show in 2012 from Showjumping Hawke's Bay, with Hastings District Council, Equestrian Sport New Zealand and Showjumping Hawke's Bay as shareholders.
Show owner Equestrian Sport New Zealand stipulated a "more formal structure" before agreeing to award hosting rights to the region for three, five-year terms, Ms Bowers said.
This year's show would be her company's third and it was "prudent business practice" to review major contracts.
"That has nothing to do with Event Pro's performance - Kevin Hansen does a really good job," she said.
"As with any other business you have to test the market from time to time."
That worked both ways, Ms Bowers said as Mr Hansen was concerned the contract was worth more. She would not disclose its amount to Hawke's Bay Today.
"Kevin and I agreed in September this year that probably the best way of testing the whole thing was to go out to tender.
"His application to be a preferred tender would be taken as read."
Expressions of interest were due by the end of January. People could attend the March event before submitting the tender by the end of April. A new contract needed to be in place by June 1, she said.
"We have agreed that, should they not be successful, we will extend it out to June 30 just to give them a little bit more time."
Naming sponsor Farmlands' CEO Brent Esler said, from a business perspective, he understood why the board was putting the contract out to tender.