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One to One – Jo Assael

Jo Assael, Director of Döhle Yachts, discusses the fragmented nature of the superyacht industry…

In the latest instalment of our digital one to one series, our Head of Editorial and Intelligence, Will Mathieson, speaks with Jo Assael about some of the more glaring issues within the superyacht industry. Jo Assael has been involved in the large yacht industry since graduating as a naval architect and working for the historic Laurent Giles Naval Architects. After working closely with Class and Flag on many large yacht projects, Jo moved to the UK’s MCA where he became Principal for Marine Technology, responsible for fire safety and life-saving appliances. This experience led him to being the lead technical specialist representing the United Kingdom at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

In this candid 30-minute-long video podcast the pair discuss the trials and tribulations that have been sustained by businesses over the last 18 months as a result of the recent pandemic. Through the positive lens of Assael, there are certain lessons and silver linings that can be drawn,

“The people who have come out of the pandemic are mostly the resilient kind in the business world. It’s forced people to take a hard look at how they manage themselves.”

In January 2017, Jo was appointed as the chairman of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Sub-Committee on Large Yachts (ISO TC8/SC12) tasked with the development of technical standards for the industry by bridging statutory regulations and the end-user, a position of great responsibility to directly influence yachting safety standards. Jo joined Döhle Yachts Technical Services in February 2018 as Technical Director, before becoming a Director of Döhle Yachts in July 2021.

As a man who prides himself on being on the board of a wide range of governing bodies, Assael also went on to discuss fragmentation in the industry and the ‘hand to mouth’ nature of struggling businesses. “We are a small industry with a lot of smaller businesses who are fighting with each other to get their hands on contracts with clients.” Assael explained how, “it skews the way people interact with each other, it leads to people focusing on minute details and having an insular perspective, people forget to address the big picture.”

‘The big picture’ and ‘over-arching aim’ were two phrases that were mentioned frequently throughout the conversation. Assael is a firm believer in the importance of sharing information and data. If everyone is aiming for the same goal, does it not make more sense to work together as an industry to combat the most gargantuan issues, such as the climate crisis?

“We are an anomaly. We are an anomaly for surviving as an industry and thriving the way that we have without having any external scrutiny or financial benchmarking.”

To gain further insight on both the problems and solutions facing the superyacht industry, watch the video below – alternatively, you can access the full library of our digital One to One series by clicking here.  If you would like to take part or contribute your thoughts, please contact Eleanor Shepherd.

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Döhle Yachts

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