North Sails announced today that Volvo Ocean Race skipper and veteran sailmaker Ken Read will return to North Sails in the role of president in early January, 2013. Read will take over for current president Gary Weisman, who has served at the helm of the world's largest sailmaker for 16 years, and who plans to retire within the next 4 months.
'This is an important and
exciting time in the world of sailing, sailmaking and in the history of
North Sails,' said North Technology Group CEO Tom Whidden. 'We are
absolutely thrilled to have Kenny back in the mix transitioning into the
role of North’s president.'
'Gary has done an absolutely
fantastic job and he will be missed dearly by not only me, but all North
Sails employees who have gotten to know him so well during his 39-year
career at North,' Whidden continued. 'Gary plans to stay involved with
the company in the short-term and he and Kenny will work closely to make
the transition as seamless as possible.'
Read started working for North Sails in 1996,
yet has taken four sabbaticals to participate in some of sailing’s
elite events. He was the CEO of PUMA Ocean Racing and skippered PUMA’s
Mar Mostro during the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and il mostro in
the 2008-09 edition of what is known as the 'world's toughest sailboat
race.' Prior to the Volvo Race, Read skippered two America's Cup teams
for Dennis Conner on Stars & Stripes in 2000 and 2003.
has been my lifeblood since I was very young and it's such an honor to
return to what I consider the marine industry's top brand' said Read,
who has been involved with the sailmaking industry for 29 years. 'My
number one goal is to continue to build on the success of North Sails,
which includes helping to educate sailors about the technology behind
every North sail that is designed and delivered,' continued Read, who
will be based in Newport, RI. 'But I also want to help the sport of
sailing grow here in the United States. After sailing around the world
twice, I have visited dozens of countries where sailing is huge. In
Europe, the South Pacific, South America, and even the Far East, sailing
is equivalent to football and baseball here in the U.S. and I will work
hard to help make our sport more visible so everyone in the sailing
industry can benefit,' he said. 'I look forward to getting back into the
business of selling and developing North Sails products. I've been the
largest North Sails customer in North America for the past six years so I
have a unique perspective on how North Sails works from the inside and
outside, and where there are possibilities for improvement.'
Weisman, who started working for North Sails in 1974, has bittersweet
emotions about stepping down as president. 'A part of me is really sad
to leave this company that has allowed me to sail with some amazing
people and be part of building what is now the biggest and most
technologically advanced sailmaking company in the world,' Weisman said.
'But another part of me is excited to hand over the reins to a very
capable and well-known sailmaker and sailor - Ken Read - who I know will
do a remarkable job. When I look back on my years here at North, I have
some great memories and will always be thankful to Lowell North who
hired me nearly 39 years ago and to Terry Kohler who invested in all of
us and helped grow North Sails to what it is today,' Weisman concluded.
About North Sails:
North Sails has become the worldwide leader in sailmaking through an
ongoing commitment to designing and building sails that are faster,
lighter and longer lasting than any other sails in the world. In 1992,
North Sails introduced 3DL and more recently introduced 3Di, both
revolutionary sailmaking technologies that thermo-mold sails as a
unitary membrane on full-sized 3-dimensional molds. North Sails is part
of North Technology Group, LLC, a diverse family of companies serving
marine and manufacturing markets worldwide. Each was founded on the
principle of delivering advanced performance through superior
technology. For more information, visit: http://www.northsails.com