Sunseeker International has announced John Braithwaite will be retiring after 53 years of service with Britain’s biggest boat builder.
Braithwaite’s retirement has been timed to coincide with his 70th birthday celebrations in May and his decision will mark the end of a significant era for both the brand and the industry, the company stated in a news release.
Braithwaite’s contribution to the marine business started in 1964 at Friars Cliff Marine, which became Poole Powerboats in 1969 when it moved into the town of Poole and subsequently Sunseeker International in 1985.
Along with his brother, Robert Braithwaite, John Braithwaite has dedicated much of his life to the brand and steadfastly guided an in-house design team over the last five decades.
Braithwaite was instrumental in the development of many revolutionary models, like the iconic Superhawk, the Predator 108 and more recently, the company’s fastest selling model, the Manhattan 52.
John and Robert started with the desire 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 flagship 155 Yacht, Braithwaite and his team of experienced designers and engineers set standards and broke numerous boundaries, pioneering a whole new world of boating.
“There is no doubt that John is, and will remain, one of our industry icons,” said Sunseeker International CEO Phil Popham. “What he has achieved is truly momentous. John has always remained true to building the very best in pleasure craft, utilizing the latest technologies and delivering every customer’s dream."
Braithwaite has been involved in designing some of Sunseeker’s most renowned boats, Popham said.
“On behalf of the whole Sunseeker family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank John for the huge contribution he has made to the brand and the industry,” Popham added. “John will 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.”
Braithwaite said he felt immensely privileged to have been part of such an incredible brand and organization. He retires as the company's longest serving executive.
“Since our early days, Robert and I have strived to deliver to our clients the most innovative and exciting products available,” he said. “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.”