The Vitelli family and the Azimut Benetti board of directors have announced that on 1 September 2020, Franco Fusignani, 75, will hand over responsibility of the group’s Benetti Division to Marco Valle, who remains in charge of the Azimut Division. Valle will take on the role of Group CEO with responsibility for both of the aforementioned divisions as a means encouraging integrated business management.

“Marco Valle, who joined the company 25 years ago, has the full support of the Vitelli family and the Group’s Board of Directors in this new challenge, which he will no doubt rise to with the same spirit of success that has been a distinctive feature of his work, first as Azimut Yachts sales director and for the last four years as CEO of the Azimut division,” comments Paolo Vitelli, Azimut Benetti Group Chairman. “We would like to thank Franco for the great work he has done and continues to do in Benetti, and for his continued future presence in the Group. This continuity is thought to be important to tackle the new challenges of an evolving market and generational change in the current management team.”

According to Azimut Benetti, this decision will encourage “an organic and unified approach to business management, benefitting effectiveness, rapid response and efficiency.” The group intends to preserve the unique identities of the two yachting brands. Fusignani will continue to sit on the board of Azimut Benetti after 1 September, further lending his 50 years of experience to the Azimut Benetti cause.

According to The Superyacht Agency, over the course of the last decade Benetti delivered an average of 10.5 superyacht projects per year, peaking in 2015 will 13 deliveries. However, with 15 deliveries scheduled for 2020, Benetti was due for its most prolific year to date. That being said, with impact of COVID-19 in Italy leading to shipyard closures, it is likely that Benetti will fall short of it’s 15 schedule deliveries. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the Italian superyacht building stalwart’s delivery schedules have not been too dramatically altered.

Since 2010, the average LOA of Benetti’s deliveries has fluctuated between 40.7-48.1m for a given year. However, 2020 may be the first year that Benetti’s average LOA creeps above 50m, with the projected deliveries expected to average out at 50.7m. While Benetti is largely known for being a production builder, its growing average LOA figures lend credence to the notion that Benetti is now a far more diverse shipyard than it is always given credit for being.

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