Spirit Yachts announces new ownership structure and management change

Spirity Yachts new ownership group. People in factory

Yacht design and build company Spirit Yachts has announced a new management and ownership structure. Following its original founder Sean McMillan taking a step back from his CEO role to become a consultant designer and brand ambassador, Spirit Yachts is now majority-owned by a group of Spirit yacht owners, who have committed significant capital to strengthen future business growth.

The company continues to be run by its existing managing director Karen Underwood, who is supported by strong design, production, and sales teams. Underwood will be assisted by a newly appointed production & design director and Spirit Yachts’ marketing director, Helen Porter, who has raised the profile of the company for the past eight years.

Sean McMillan, Karen Underwood, Mike Taylor Spirit Yachts

Sean McMillan [pictured far left, with Karen Underwood and Mike Taylor] will continue to be closely involved in the design of Spirit’s custom yachts working alongside Spirit’s award-winning designer Tom Smith, and the company’s in-house team of designers and naval architects.

Underwood says: “Since Spirit Yachts was founded 30 years ago, Sean has instilled his creativity and vision into the DNA of the business. From humble beginnings in the Suffolk countryside to multiple award wins, yachts in two Bond films, and over 80 bespoke yachts located worldwide, Spirit Yachts is a unique success story that continues to push the boundaries.

Spirit Yachts 44E
Spirit Yachts 44E. Image courtesy of Richard Langdon

“Today, the challenges are greater with supply chain hurdles, staff shortages, and the need to remain agile in the face of global events, but our commitment to quality, beauty, and lowering the carbon footprint of our yachts remains at the heart of Spirit Yachts. With a full yard, a strong sales pipeline, and secure investment, the team and I are well-equipped to deliver a prosperous future.”

In 1993, Suffolk-based Spirit Yachts was founded by Sean McMillan and Mick Newman, who set out to offer yacht owners a beautiful, unique, and sustainably sourced alternative to fibreglass production boats. This goal remains at the core of the company’s ethos today.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.