World Sailing opens new headquarters

Published on September 7th, 2022

(September 7, 2022) – The financial position of World Sailing took an upward step as the global governing body for the sport of sailing has completed its relocation to its new headquarters in Hammersmith, Central London.

After being based in the port city of Southampton on England’s south coast since February 1997, the organization made a misguided move from Southampton to London in October 2017, which had been selected over Geneva, Lausanne, Winchester, Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.

World Sailing President Kim Andersen said at the time, “As with all good leadership, the board and myself have looked into what is best for the World Sailing organization and for our sport.

“We have taken into consideration the DNA of World Sailing as a whole, the technical skills we need to run the organization, the aspect of being international and having options of multi-lingual competencies and accessibility.

“This has been weighed and reviewed, and we are pleased to announce that in the best interest of the organization and the sport we have decided to move the headquarters to London.”

But more than the 80 miles to London was the significant jump in overhead costs along with the loss of employees not making the move. These proved to not be in the organization’s best interest, contributing to Andersen’s election defeat for a second term and the exit of CEO Andy Hunt in December 2019.

Strained finances became a glaring issue with the one year postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games, for as an International Federation relying on Olympic funding, World Sailing’s delayed quadrennial deposit pulled the Band-Aid off the organization’s bad decisions.

When World Sailing appointed David Graham, a 20-year veteran in the sailing industry, as its new Chief Executive Officer in July 2020, he had a mess to clean up.

First and foremost was the move to London, but lease agreements took time to unwind, with Graham finally now orchestrating the move to Hammersmith which provide an ongoing cost saving of 70% compared to the previous office space in Paddington.

“The new surroundings have been renovated to suit our purpose and will allow us to work together again and implement an efficient blend of remote and hybrid working,” noted Graham. “We will continue to offer that model for staff as we have seen, like businesses around the world, that it is successful and beneficial to our operations.

“The savings we will make following this move can be invested back into the sport for the benefit of sailors worldwide. This is an opportunity to reform the sport, build for the future and achieve our strategic objectives as an organization without the financial burdens of the past.”

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