Lamberto Tacoli describes his departure from the Ferretti Group at the end of his mandate as CEO of CRN in February 2016 as “the natural end to a phase in my career.” It came with the standard proviso that he wouldn’t work for a competing brand for 12 months. Instead, he threw himself into the role of chairman of Nautica Italiana, the breakaway association set up in 2015 as an alternative to UCINA, the national body representing Italy’s marine manufacturers, where he used his time “to carefully observe the yachtbuilding industry in Italy.”
There was no shortage of rumours about where Tacoli would eventually end up, but confirmation came on the eve of the first Versilia Yachting Rendezvous, Nautica Italiana’s independent boat show, when Fenix Srl acquired a 49.99% equity stake in Perini Navi by means of a €27 million capital injection. During the snap press conference in Milan, it was further announced that Tacoli would take over as the new chairman and CEO of the group. Fenix Srl is the Italian holding company of the Tabacchi family, a leading player in the eyewear industry headed up by Edoardo 'Dino' Tabacchi (pictured above with Tacoli aboard M/Y Exuma), who has owned a 42m Baglietto and a 60m CRN, both of them named Blue Eyes.
“Evidently other opportunities presented themselves,” says Tacoli, “but I’ve always said I was looking for a new home as opposed to just another work contract. That possibility came about with Perini and Edoardo, who is not just a former client but also a close friend.”
Even so, his top management appointment with the premier sailing yacht brand (Fabio Perini remains as honorary chairman and largest shareholder with a 50.01% stake held via the Faper Group holding company), represents a departure for the Bolognese entrepreneur, whose career to date has focused exclusively on the motoryacht segment.
“I’m not entering the company as a sailing specialist, but as a nautical specialist,” he counters. “This is an opportunity for me to do things differently and, above all, to breathe new life into a remarkable brand with the help of a management team that, in some cases, has been with the company for over 20 years.”
Tacoli insists that given the current market demand, he is not aiming to increase production at Perini beyond more than one or two significant orders a year, but points out that "they have to be unique products and I think being a non-sailing specialist will help me achieve that.”
As part of the PerinI Navi group, Picchiotti presents a different challenge and it is here that Tacoli is likely to introduce a more far-reaching strategy:
“To my mind, Picchiotti has not been promoted enough as a brand, despite the positive reception of exceptional projects like Grace E. Picchiotti and Perini are a potent combination, because with the same head and heart we can draw on the status of Perini to develop a unique brand position for Picchiotti in the motoryacht sector.”
“I’m not a ‘mega-man’ and there are risks associated with building yachts over 100m,” continues Tacoli. “But given their flexibility and experience, Perini and Picchiotti can lead the way in the 50-80m segment. This might mean looking anew at semi-custom projects, which allow some freedom to personalise, but also reduce the element of risk by better controlling quality and delivery times.”
Just as the first three months following the inauguration of a new US president are critical, Tacoli refers to his own first ‘100 days’ as the new chairman and CEO of the PerinI Navi group. As he did following his departure from the Ferretti Group, he plans to use this time to observe and listen before taking any momentous decisions.
“Today we can rely on an extra 27 million euros of investment, and that’s something that should put a smile on our faces,” he concludes. “It is a first step in a process that will see us dust off the brand and make it shine!”
Credit: images by Justin Ratcliffe