Joining the company from a 25-year stint at Jaguar Land Rover, Phil Popham has recently been appointed chief executive officer at Sunseeker International. Speaking exclusively to SuperyachtNews.com at the London International Boat Show, Popham is excited to be part of the prolific brand and ensuring the company's future success.

With Sunseeker having received one of the biggest Chinese investments in the UK and continuing to increase its range of yachts, in terms of size, it is perhaps surprising that the latest statements released from the company have held the negative connotations of potential job cuts and managerial reshuffling. But entering into a new era, Popham claims that these are all essential steps to build on the company's success thus far.

Phil Popham, CEO of Sunseeker International

“We have had a restructure, which was necessary in terms of gaining efficiency and building the foundations to develop the business for the future,” he explains. “The company worked with PwC over a period of time to analyse the business and the structure of the business - that’s happened and we have invested to do that.

“The vast majority has been done through voluntary redundancy. There have been one or two compulsory redundancies as part of that but the Wanda Group is an organisation that is a big Chinese conglomerate and they have invested a lot of money to buy Sunseeker. The vision for the company needs that stability of ownership and it needs that investment in the future so we have to think of it as part of the plan and investment so that they are involved for the long term.”


"There is a new management team, we have restructured to get that efficient foundation on which to build, and now we are going to be busy building up the long- term business plan to present back to our owners."



Addressing the managerial reshuffle, Popham believes that his experience in the motor industry plays a major part in why he was scouted for the role. “The industry that I have come from is way ahead of the yachting industry in terms of franchise and customer service. I have been operating a business that has been selling half a million premium cars a year in 175 markets, but the principles are still the same, in terms of protecting your brand, developing your brand, maintaining the consistency of service and the consistency of representation being driven by customers. You have got to have the right customer service but within a robust product creation process, which is very rigid and formal and at the end produces a consistent, quality product.

“So there is a new management team, we have restructured to get that efficient foundation on which to build, and now we are going to be busy building up the long- term business plan to present back to our owners, which is basically to exploit what is a fantastic opportunity in terms of a building on a world-renowned brand.”


Sunseeker stand at the 2015 London International Boat Show

With Sunseeker's second 155 yacht currently in production and discussions around the 168 sport yacht, which was announced earlier in the year, in progress, the company is showing their increasing dedication to the superyacht sector. “Something that Phil will be working on is a five- and ten-year plan and part of that is long range product planning,” adds Bryan Jones, marketing manager. “If you look at where Sunseeker has come from 50 years ago, it has always been upwards, so there is no reason to believe that the boats won’t continue to get bigger or that the type of production won't change. Who knows what is on the horizon for us.”

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