Experienced hands Brisius and Salén to steer Volvo Ocean Race
Expert sailing duo Richard Brisius and Johan Salén have been appointed as the new heads of the Volvo Ocean Race, the company behind the famous round-the-world yacht race.
Brisius (pictured, left) and Salén (right) are assuming the roles of president and co-president, respectively, taking on the responsibilities of departing chief executive Mark Turner.
The announcement was made yesterday as the 2017-18 edition of the race continues, with leg two from Lisbon to Cape Town.
Brisius and Salén founded Atlant Ocean Racing together and have an association with the Volvo Ocean Race dating back nearly 30 years, starting as sailors in the 1989-90 edition, and have enjoyed considerable success at team management level, including victories in 1997-98 and 2008-09 and second-placed finishes in 1993-94 and 2001-02.
The pair managed Team SCA, the all-female entry in the 2014-15 race.
Brisius is currently the chief executive of a subsidiary of the Swedish Olympic Committee overseeing the country's planned bid for the 2026 winter Olympic Games, and will remain in that role.
Salén, who has worked alongside Brisius on all of their previous Volvo Ocean Race projects, will have a prominent role in the operation and in devising a strategy for the future of the event alongside the current leadership team.
It was announced in September, less than a month before the start of the current race, that Turner, also a former sailor, would be stepping down.
This followed the decision by the organisers to review the schedule for future editions and rule out an event involving new boats in 2019-20.
In June, plans were unveiled to hold the race biennially, as opposed to every three years, after the 2017-18 event, with new boats based on the Super 60 concept to debut next time round.
However, the AB Volvo and Volvo Cars companies which own the race subsequently resolved that “additional planning time” was needed to make these changes.
Brisius is looking forward to the challenge, saying: “It’s an honour to be involved with my friends in the Volvo Ocean Race again. The race is at the very heart of the sport of sailing and it has formed the backbone of so much of my life.
“At the core of the Volvo Ocean Race are some of the very best athletes in the world, racing in what I think must be the most relentless competition. Their efforts and determination inspire people across the world, and creates outstanding value for partners and host cities.”
Salén added: “Looking forward, it is clear we need to work closely with Volvo and all stakeholders, including future teams, sailors and commercial partners, to create something even greater for the future.
“I know that process is already underway with the existing leadership team. We all know the importance of setting a clear roadmap for the future in terms of event timing and class of boat as well as the commercial offering.”
Henry Sténson, the chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race board, believes the new presidents have the necessary knowhow both on and off the water to contribute to the growth of the event.
He said: “Both Richard and Johan have this race in their blood having competed as sailors and then working together to create and lead commercially successful and winning teams such as Ericsson 4 and EF Language
“We believe this expertise on the team side is critical in terms of understanding what is required to make the race successful for teams and partners. We are confident we can now build on what has been put in place by Mark and his team to create a strong foundation for the future.”
The current Volvo Ocean Race, involving seven teams, started in Alicante in Spain on 22 October and, after leaving Cape Town, the boats will take in destinations including Melbourne, Hong Kong, Auckland, Itajai in Brazil and Newport in Rhode Island, USA, before finishing in The Hague in the Netherlands late in June 2018.