SailGP, the global racing league, has announced a new structure as it approaches the end of a record-breaking third season and builds towards an expanded Season 4.
SailGP will be organized into key business units including SailGP League covering Commercial, Marketing, Events, Technology and Strategy; SailGP Productions covering Broadcast and Content and SailGP Technologies which is the boat building, design and applied technologies division of the company.
Sir Russell Coutts will continue to oversee all business units as SailGP CEO while Andy Thompson will take on a wider role as Managing Director of the SailGP League business unit, focussing on the growth and commercialization of SailGP. Until now Thompson has been the Chief Commercial Officer of SailGP, having previously worked as CFO of the America’s Cup until 2017. Newly recruited Melissa Lawton – who joined in May 2022 from Meta – will lead the SailGP Production unit.
As part of the focus on growth and fan engagement, SailGP has also bolstered its talent across departments, with Leah Davis and Nicola Sands joining the Marketing department as Global Marketing Director and Global Event Marketing Manager respectively. Davis and Sands will focus on building, leading and executing the global marketing strategy with overall responsibility for brand and consumer marketing, media effectiveness, event marketing and fan engagement working closely with SailGP’s local teams in each market.
Davis has previously worked for Team GB as Head of Marketing and Brand for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic cycles as well as the Laureus World Sports Awards. She also sits on the board of British Cycling. Sands was previously the Head of Marketing for W Series, and has worked for a number of rights holders running high-profile global sports events.
Tom Gracey also joins the business as Global Head of Broadcast Media Partnerships. In this role Gracey will own and execute SailGP's global media rights strategy, building and developing relationships with broadcasters and online media publications.
Gracey joins SailGP from W Series, where he was Head of Broadcast and Media Rights. Prior to this he worked for the English Football Association, most recently as the Broadcast and Media Rights Lead sitting across the FA Cup, men’s and women’s national teams, development teams and the Women’s Super League.
The league has also made some key promotions internally with Daisy Vollans moving into the role of Director of Digital and Sacha Kemp promoted to Communications Director. The league’s commitment to purpose and impact remains strong with Fiona Morgan taking on the position of Chief Purpose Officer. Julie Boyd will step into the role of Chief Financial Officer with Jon Massie being promoted to Chief People Officer to support the wider workforce growth.
SailGP’s commercial team will be led by three regional commercial directors with Charlie Dewhurst overseeing the EMEA region along with global commercial strategy, Ben Johnson continuing to lead the Americas and Karl Budge expanding his core remit of the New Zealand team to the wider APAC region.
Thompson said: “SailGP is experiencing industry-leading growth, and as we prepare for both the Grand Final of Season 3 in San Francisco and the launch of our expanded fourth season in the coming months, now is the perfect time to put in place the right team and the right structure to take us into this exciting new phase as a business and championship.”
SailGP Season 3 continues later this month with the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney on February 18-19 before the sold-out ITM New Zealand Grand Prix in Christchurch on March 18-19 and the Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco on May 6-7.