Hugo Boss restructure
Not only is Alex Thomson Racing preparing to launch their newly refitted IMOCA Open 60, but the company have also been restructuring their team - starting at the top. The company have scored a coup by poaching their new Managing Director from a high flying position at The Royal Bank of Scotland head office in Edinburgh.
An economics graduate, Stewart Hosford, 36, has left his role as Head of Sourcing at RBS to take up the position of Managing Director at Alex Thomson Racing in Gosport. He brings significant experience to the role, with six years as a Director at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young followed by his most current role, where he was one of the youngest Executives in RBS history. His new position will see him manage the 12 strong team, including Hugo Boss skipper, Alex Thomson.
Why Hosford made the move maybe the first question that springs to mind? Some may not realise the scale of running an IMOCA Open 60 team, from the technical world of boat design and optimisation, the needs of a high profile sponsor, events and marketing activation teams and a multi million pound budget to manage, all that without the team even going sailing. This is not a small business, every decision is crucial and can make the difference between the team winning or losing that ultimate goal. The world of sports sponsorship is not a new playing field for the 36 year old, in his previous role Hosford was instrumental in the signing many of the RBS major sports sponsorship deals including tennis, rRugby, golf and F1. He managed a team of 200 with a multi-billion spend across everything from marketing, sponsorship, HR, IT, property and logistics.
“For me this role is about steering Alex Thomson Racing into a new period, " said Managing Director, Hosford. "Managing an international sporting team at the highest level, holds parallels to many of the day to day realities that exist within the financial and corporate world. Million dollar deals, delivering on objectives, decision making at the highest level and a clear understanding of the differences between hitting your targets and falling by the wayside. I am passionate about ensuring that we continue to raise the standards within the industry (sailing) both through our performance on the water and sponsorship activation on shore. I intend to be very ‘hands on’, and my focus is not just on the next four years but planning ahead to ensure the prolonged future of Alex Thomson Racing."
The appointment will mean skipper Alex Thomson will be able to focus 100% on his performance on the water. He has in the past added the management role in the company to that of skipper. Now however he will be able to do what he does best, sail fast and fully focus on his training with the ultimate aim of winning the 2012 edition of the Vendée Globe.
“Stewart joining the team will mean a big load off my shoulders, I can concentrate on racing and not have to be distracted by day to day aspects of the business," confirmed Thomson. "I believe he will bring a new structure to the business that will ultimately continue to improve my performance on the water. Stewart certainly brings a level of networking and knowledge of the corporate world, which will be invaluable in taking Alex Thomson Racing forward. We’ve done two Fastnet races together, so know each other well and I’m really looking forward to working alongside him."
While the team is undergoing its own restructure, the Juan Kouyoumdjian IMOCA Open 60 has been hidden away in the build shed at Green Marine in Lymington throughout the winter, allowing Alex Thomson Racing and Juan Yacht Design to breathe new life into this already radical boat. Now widely considered to be the most powerful IMOCA Open 60 in the fleet, due to the grandfathering rule, the new Hugo Boss will feature some exciting design changes that Alex and his team are confident will ensure success on the water.
With the new boat completing re-fit, both skipper Alex and managing partner of Alex Thomson Racing Sir Keith Mills have been putting in place the team of professionals required to deliver on the company’s goals.
Expect more team announcements over the coming weeks as Stewart and the team at Alex Thomson Racing prepare for the season ahead in the newly refitted Juan Kouyoumdjian designed Hugo Boss.