America's Cup: Alinghi boss appointed CEO of Team Origin

Grant Simmer is the new CEO of TeamOrigin

Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal of TEAMORIGIN, the British America’s Cup sailing team, announced today that Australian-born Grant Simmer has been appointed as CEO. Simmer, most recently Managing Director and Design Co-ordinator of Alinghi, winners of the America’s Cup in 2003 and 2007, takes on the new position with immediate effect.

Simmer takes on the CEO role, albeit with a new job title, replacing Mike Sanderson (NZL) a Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper and with three America's Cup campaigns to his credit, who was ousted from the Team Director role just over ten days ago.

Today’s announcement follows the conclusion of the last America’s Cup match in February, and the start of the next Cup cycle. Last week TEAMORIGIN announced that it would be strengthening its management team as it ramps up its operations as it heads towards the 34th America’s Cup.

Grant Simmer, CEO, commented on his new role, 'I am delighted to join TEAMORIGIN and am looking forward to working with Sir Keith, Ben and all the team to develop and execute a plan to overcome the other Challengers and lead us into the next America’s Cup Match.'

He added further thoughts on his new team, ' Fortunately TEAMORIGIN appears to have great strengths and leadership in each department. Mike Sanderson, who has now left the team, played a key role in managing the team through some difficult times and the team is in pretty good shape. I anticipate each area simply getting on with their jobs and that I will play a key role in overseeing and coordinating their activities.'

TEAMORIGIN has had to survive during several years of uncertainty while the Deed of Gift Match was resolved. Now, with the new Defender in place, we are all anxiously awaiting announcements of their plans for the 34th Cup. These are exciting times for sure, and these plans will include the format of racing, type of boats to be raced, the dates of competition and many other significant details. We should know all this information by the end of September and can then develop and refine our strategy leading to the next Cup.'

Simmer’s new role as CEO sees him take responsibility for the sporting and technical activities of the team as well as overseeing the commercial operations. Simmer joins the team today in La Maddalena, Sardinia, where TEAMORIGIN is competing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta against nine other world class America’s Cup teams including the Defender BMW ORACLE Racing, TEAMORIGIN’s opponent for the 1851 Cup in Cowes in early August this year. Racing continues in Italy until 6th June 2010.

Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal, added his thoughts on today’s news, 'Today’s announcement is part of the team’s long term strategy to enhance the leadership and management. We are moving into the next phase of operations and Grant brings with him invaluable experience from both a Challenger and Defenders perspective. Our mission is to win the America’s Cup and today’s announcement forms a fundamental part of that strategy.'

This will be Simmer’s eighth America’s Cup. He first competed in 1983 at the age of 27 as Navigator onboard Australia II. There he played a part in sporting history when Australia II became the first challenger to ever win the America’s Cup ending 132 years of US supremacy and the longest winning streak in sports history. Since that momentous win, Simmer has had diverse roles and responsibilities in another seven America’s Cup campaigns, culminating with the Swiss Alinghi team, winning the Cup in 2003 and 2007 in the role of Design Coordinator and most recently as the team’s Managing Director.

Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Helmsman, added his views, 'This is great news for TEAMORIGIN and it comes at a time when we are finally seeing some resolution to the past few years of event delays. Soon we hope to have a detailed Protocol and programme for the 34th America’s Cup. Grant’s experience and talent will bring strong leadership and structure to the team at this critical time and his sailing and design skills will enhance our strengths as we move forward.'