Cobalt Yachts president resigns

NEODESHA, Kan. – Just weeks after introducing its first products to the marine media, and one month prior to the consumer unveiling of those same products at the company’s first major show, Cobalt Yachts’ president, Cos Constantinou, has resigned.

In a release delivered to Boating Industry on Sept. 26, Cobalt Yachts’ parent company, Cobalt Boats, said Constantinou has stepped down from his post to attend to family matters. He had joined Cobalt in 2004 and had led the formation of the company’s yacht division since its inception.

“Cos has spared no effort and has invested enormous time and energy to start up our Yachts division in Tennessee from the ground up,” Cobalt Boats CEO Paxson St. Clair said in the release. “His dedication and product expertise have been instrumental in bringing a compelling new product to market.”

Boating Industry was granted an exclusive inside look at the development of Cobalt’s new division, including a one-on-one interview with Constantinou and a personal tour of the manufacturing facility. The full-length feature is the cover story of the October issue, which is set to mail to subscribers in early October and will also be on display at the International Boatbuilders Exhibition and Conference.

Even at the time of the interview, however, there were hints that the new initiative wasn’t quite meeting expectations. Cobalt Yachts had originally intended to introduce its first product at last winter’s Miami International Boat Show. Development had fallen behind, though, and Cobalt made the decision not to rush the product just to get it on display. Those products are now slated to be introduced at next month’s Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.

“We’re disappointed with where we are today,” St. Clair told Boating Industry in August. “We had plans to hit the 2007 model year with a number of our 46- and 37-foot models out in the market place and we’re just this month shipping our first 37 and 46. We’re just now having boats come off the production line.”

In an interview on Thursday, St. Clair echoed those remarks, but added that the blame for that shouldn’t all be laid on Constantinou — “we’re all in it together,” he said.

“We all overestimated or were a little bit aggressive with what we thought we could accomplish in such a short amount of time,” he said. “We’re certainly paying the price for being overly optimistic today.

“We had a mutual agreement that it was time to change some things up. [Constantinou] had some family issues to tend to, and certainly those family issues are at the top of the list.”

While Paxson and his father Pack will be involved on a daily basis with the progress of the yachts division, Paxson acknowledged the work that Constantinou had done to develop a quality team at the Tennessee-based manufacturing facility.

“We have a very solid group that Cos put together down there,” he said. “We have the luxury of some time, but we will be looking to replace that position. We’re in this for the long haul. Although it has been painful, we feel very good about the future as a result.”

To read the full feature in Boating Industry magazine, watch for the October issue.

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