Photo: Guilain Grenier/Land Rover BAR
Land Rover BAR, the British sailing team led by Sir Ben Ainslie, has appointed Grant Simmer as its new chief executive.
Simmer, a four-time winner of sailing’s prestigious America's Cup, replaces Martin Whitmarsh, who now moves to an advisor role and will also assume the position of chief executive at the newly formed BAR Technologies.
Simmer began his America's Cup career in 1983, when he helped Australia II claim victory as a navigator. He has since claimed the Auld Mug three times as head of design, managing director and general manager with the Swiss team Alinghi and, most recently, Oracle Team USA.
Working in tandem with Ainslie, Simmer will oversee the sporting and performance side of Land Rover BAR, with his chief focus being on winning the next America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2021.
"I've been really impressed by what Ben, Martin and the team have created from a standing start in just four years,” said Simmer, who plans to relocate to the UK from his native Australia in the New Year.
“After a period of consolidation and reflection since the last Cup concluded in Bermuda, I see a team that have laid the foundations of a strong organisation, ready to take on the sporting challenge that lies ahead."
Whitmarsh, meanwhile, will focus his attentions full-time on BAR Technologies, which has been set up to commercialise technologies developed through the America's Cup team.
A Land Rover BAR statement said ‘the BAR Technologies business has grown at considerable pace in the last few months under Whitmarsh's leadership’.
"Ben, Charles (Dunstone) and I were always clear that we needed someone with a full time focus on the racing team,” said Whitmarsh, who has led Land Rover BAR since March 2015 having previously served as team principal of the McLaren Formula One team.
“I'm delighted therefore that someone with Grant's experience is joining us and that I can continue to assist Ben and the business to develop and of course bring the Cup home."