Is the grass greener on the other side?

Published on September 18th, 2019

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The World Sailing constitution states that every fourth year after 2012 the organization shall hold a general assembly to elect significant positions, of which the presidency is among them. Whereas prior to 2012 it had been standard for persons to remain President for multiple terms, opposition bids have since then been the norm.

Carlo Croce (ITA) had been the World Sailing President from 2012 to 2016, and was eligible for another four years but faced several candidates during the reelection, ultimately losing the position to Kim Andersen. Now with Kim coming up for re-election, there is an effort to dethrone him at the 2020 World Sailing Annual Conference.

Will the grass be a greener under a new President? This comes from Gerardo Seeliger who is seeking to be President of World Sailing:

When I decided to run, I called Kim Andersen and subsequently wrote to his World Sailing Board, to the Council and all the 140 MNA Presidents. The responses I received were quite encouraging. Kim and some of the Board Members and many of the Council Members are longtime friends. Some of us have worked together in IYRU, ISAF and WS for more than 40 years, and they know me well. I want to contribute with my three areas of experience:

I am still an active sailor, in competition and cruising. I competed in the Finn at the 1972 Olympic Games, have participated in 20 European and World Championships in different classes, competed in three Admirals Cups, two Sardinia Cups, the Bermuda Race, Giraglia, Copa del Rey and many others and have sailed for many years as helmsman and crew on Bribon, the boat of HM King Juan Carlos.

Sports Administration:
• I was President of the Finn Class for 18 years, as well as later being for 8 years President of the 49er and 29er Class.
• I was twice the CEO of the Spanish America’s Cup Challenges responsible, among other of obtaining the sponsors for the Spain challenges. In 1995 I was elected Chairman of the AC Challenger of Record Committee and the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Diego.
• I have served as President of the Marketing and Television Committee and the International Classes Committee of ISAF.
• With Gary Jobson we created the Yachtsman of the Year Award and negotiated the first sponsorship deal. I created the Christmas Race in Palamos and introduced, together with Tom Ehman and John Faire, Match Racing in the Olympic Games 1992. I also created the Emerging Nations Program, supported by the IOC and corporate sponsors, for the WS Santander Worlds in 2014.
• I have worked within the IOC, under President Jacques Rogge, as Executive Director of ACNO the Association of the 204 National Olympic Committees, in Lausanne and Paris and have always and continue to keep a close relationship with the IOC.

Business life:
• I have enjoyed a successful business career with international search firms in the UK, US, and Europe and I’ve held executive roles with the Adidas Holding Company in Switzerland, international banking in New York and London, and worked in the management team in several start-ups
• John Bertrand, the America’s Cup winner, asked me to join Quokka Sports, the first Internet digital sports content company, quoted in NASDAQ, as President Europe.
• Currently I manage a senior talent consulting firm and lecture in the IE Business School, according to the Financial Times, one of the leading schools in Europe.

Basic pillars of my candidacy:
• Transparency; Accountability; Compliance; Good Governance
• Improve efficiency; Operating cost reduction; Identify, increase and better redistribute new sources of revenue, to benefit sailors, Clubs and MNAs.
• Sailors first; managing from the boat park; Listening; By sailors for sailors; Integration and Inclusion; ENP initiatives.

Over the next months I want to listen, learn, and analyze the mayor challenges and issues WS is facing while keeping a prudent silence before opining. I look forward to talking to many of you soon to discuss the formidable challenge ahead, define a strategy, an action plan and create the team to face the 2020 elections.

Editor’s note: This report originally stated the election would be at the 2019 World Sailing Annual Conference. It will be at the 2020 gathering. Our apologies for this mistake.

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