Seeking New Horizons: An Interview with John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite’s retirement is not an end to Sunseeker but a new beginning for the luxury performance yachting brand.

May 03, 2018 | By Yacht Style

John Braithwaite’s retirement is not an end to Sunseeker but a new beginning for the luxury performance yachting brand.

Founded in 1969 by brother Robert and John Braithwaite, Sunseeker is the world’s leading brand for luxury performance motor yachts and Britain’s biggest boat builder. John has announced his swan song with his retirement. While the brand has become a global icon, synonymous with unparalleled craftsmanship, design and performance, John believes the company will still ride the crest of the wave.His 53-year tenure has undoubtedly brought much success to this prestigious yachting brand.Interestingly, John’s retirement has been timed to coincide with his 70th birthday celebrations this May and his decision will mark the end of a significant era for both the brand and the industry alike.

His most illustrious contribution to the marine business was when he began his career in 1964 at Friars Cliff Marine, which became Poole Powerboats in 1969 when it moved into the town of Poole and was subsequently renamed as Sunseeker International in 1985.

Along with his brother, Robert Braithwaite, John has dedicated much of his life to the brand and steadfastly guided the in-house design team over the last five decades, with the clear ambition and vision to deliver the very best boats in the industry. More importantly, John has been instrumental in the development of many revolutionary models, like the iconic Superhawk, the Predator 108 and more recently, the firm’s fastest selling model – the Manhattan 52. As the company’s longest-serving executive, John has been a valuable source of inspiration and guidance for the current Sunseeker executive team.

John and Robert shared a common vision to build “a new kind of boat” at a time when there were no significant builders of boats for the sports and leisure markets in the United Kingdom. From the launch of their first 17-foot open-cockpit speedboat, to the development of the iconic flagship 155 Yacht, John and his team of experienced designers and engineers have continued to set the bar high and break boundaries.

Undoubtedly, John and his team have truly spearheaded the industry of today – pioneering a whole new world of boating lifestyle.

Phil Popham, Chief Executive Officer at Sunseeker International opined, “There is no doubt that John is, and will remain, one of our industry icons. What he has achieved is truly momentous. John has always remained true to building the very best in pleasure craft, utilising the latest technologies and delivering every customer’s dream. John has been involved in designing some of our most renowned boats and on behalf of the whole Sunseeker family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the huge contribution he has made to the brand and the industry. John will of course continue to be an important ambassador for us and I look forward to welcoming him back to Sunseeker events and celebrations in the future but in the meantime we would all like to wish him a very well-deserved retirement.”

On his retirement, John enthused, “I feel immensely privileged to have been part of such an incredible brand and organisation. Since our early days, Robert and I have strived to deliver to our clients the most innovative and exciting products available. That philosophy, together with strong, iconic design has been fundamental to our success and I know this will continue to be a driver for the talented design and development team I leave behind. I would like to thank them all for their dedication over the years.”

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