NEWPORT, R.I. – Nautor’s Swan, the 40-year-old Finland-based luxury sailboat manufacturer, will establish its first-ever U.S. headquarters in Newport, R.I., according to a statement from the company yesterday.
Company officials said significant investment is earmarked for growth of the company within the U.S. market. Nautor USA will be located at the Newport Shipyard near Goat Island and will be responsible for sales and marketing for North America. There are an estimated 600 Swans sailing in the United States, a number expected to grow substantially with the launch of this new headquarters, according to the company.
Enrico Chieffi, group vice president of marketing and sales, will assume the title of chairman for the United States. The U.S. headquarters and operations will be run by Jack Gierhart, executive vice president of marketing, and Steve Barker, executive vice president of sales.
“The U.S. possesses a loyal and significant base of Swan owners who strongly recognize the quality and longevity of the Nautor’s Swan brand,” Chieffi said. “The company is committed to building on its history in this country. Following a successful business model employed in other parts of the world, Nautor’s Swan is regionalizing its marketing and sales activities to a central office within each key market.”
The Newport office will be responsible for the marketing and sales of Swan yachts and providing customer service across the United States, collaborating with the two independent Nautor’s Swan agents based on the west coast, KKMI in San Francisco, and West Coast Yachts Inc. in Seattle.
Steve Barker joined Nautor’s Swan as an agent in 1995, and has since become one of the top Swan agents in the world. With over 30 years of experience in the yachting industry, Barker has been instrumental in product development and sales for many of Nautor’s successful yachts. With the establishment of Nautor USA, Barker is integrating his sales team with the company to provide a critical element for the growth of the company.
Jack Gierhart brings considerable experience in sales and marketing from both blue chip companies and start-ups, as well as within the yachting industry, most recently as marketing director for US SAILING. He will be responsible for leading the marketing, public relations and customer service operations from Newport and will be committed to ensuring the company’s traditions and standards are upheld, as well as developing new directions and modern initiatives to meet the needs of the discerning American customer.
The Nautor U.S. team will also include customer service manager Peter McCloskey who will be focused on delivering a strong customer service program in the region.
"I am very excited about this opportunity for Nautor’s Swan to even further improve the service we offer our established U.S. Swan family, as well as prospective owners,” Chieffi said. “The combination of Steve’s successful tenure selling luxury sailing yachts in the U.S., coupled with Jack’s marketing experience and familiarity with the sailing marketplace, make this a formidable team to lead our U.S. operations. Nautor's Swan has a long history in the U.S. with a passionate customer base.
“With the new team we have a great foundation for growing our business and enhancing service to our customers,” he continued. “The company has already proven itself in Europe and other areas of the world as it has focused on those markets. Now it is time for the U.S."
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