Philp Popham, Sunseeker’s chief executive officer, has left the British superyacht manufacturer to “embark on a fresh challenge”. Popham, who joined Sunseeker in 2015, was instrumental in the development and execution of Sunseeker’s ‘turnaround plan’ that saw the business return to profit ahead of schedule in 2016, following a number of challenging years.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sunseeker International,” states Popham. “To have played a part in the turnaround of this fabulous brand makes me immensely proud, but the business is now firmly in its next phase of growth and it is time for me to embark on a fresh challenge. I know I leave behind an exceptional team that will continue to grow the business and take it to even higher levels of success.”

"I know I leave behind an exceptional team that will continue to grow the business and take it to even higher levels of success"

Jon Zeng, Dalian Wanda’s board representative for Sunseeker comments: “Phil leaves Sunseeker in a very healthy position with a record order book, an exciting long-term plan and the necessary corporate structure to allow the company to focus on its further growth. We would like to thank him for his leadership, professionalism and guidance and wish him every success in his new endeavours.”

According to a statement released by Sunseeker, the search for a new CEO has commenced. However, in the interim, Sunseeker’s current executive team will continue the day-to-day running of the business under the guidance of Mike McMillan, chief financial officer, and Michael Straughan, chief operations officer.

In 2017, SuperyachtNews spoke exclusively with Popham about Sunseeker’s return to profit and its plans for the future. According to Popham, Sunseeker has improved “the way in which we build boats, the facilities in which we build and we’ve invested a significant amount of money in making it easier to build our boats. With ease not only comes speed, but consistency and quality. With a strong order bank, we are able to plan longer-term for our volumes and product plans and we are able to share some of this information with our supplier to provide more concrete commitments, this is reflected in lower piece costs.”

Popham also revealed that over the coming years Sunseeker expects to invest in excess of £50million on new products and facilities to replace the current product range and, potentially, expand it. “The business is on a fresh course, not just to strengthen our position as Britain’s largest boat builder, but as the global leader for luxury performance superyachts. All this, underpinned by a strong forward order book, means we are extremely excited about the future,” he said.


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