New Volvo Ocean Race CEO

For those of you who closely follow the Volvo Ocean Race, you will know that Glenn Bourke, who steered the managerial duties of the event since November of 2002, stepped down in December of 2007. Filling these shoes was no easy task, as Bourke himself has a deep sailing resume, as well as the sort of leadership and managerial skills necessary to drive an event as dynamic as the VOR. Bourke resigned due to an email from his son, who queried his globetrotting dad about when he would be home to watch him play “footy” – and with that, Bourke knew that he had to spend more time with his family.

The newly appointed CEO of the VOR is Norwegian Knut Frostad, 40, who himself is a veteran of three Whitbred/VOR’s (he also sailed half of the 2005/2006 event aboard Brasil 1). Frostad refers fondly to the time that he spent on the event’s turbo-charged Volvo Open 70s, but knows firsthand that these boats require a tremendous amount of manpower to sail competitively, and that things can get spicy very quickly when the weather turns snotty.

Frostad attended the Oslo Business School and has served on the board of directors of several big European companies. These experiences have obviously helped him to understand the economic importance — and implication for the event itself — of the newly formatted course and its stopovers in emerging markets like India and China; places where the economy may be hot, but where sailing is still in its infantile stages. As Frostad is coming aboard as CEO a mere eight months before the race’s start, he does not anticipate initiating many changes to the race’s format, at least not for this next edition.

Look for more stories about the VOR, and about its new leader, as the race gets closer to its early October starting date.

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Posted: March 7, 2008

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