The boss of luxury yacht builder Sunseeker has abruptly left the company. Stewart McIntyre, the managing director, will leave the Dorset-based company owned by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, at the end of the month. The company said McIntyre, a Scot who commutes from Edinburgh to Sunseeker's headquarters in Poole, was leaving to 'pursue other interests'. Wang's Wanda Group, which bought 91.8% of Sunseeker for £300m in 2013, said founder Robert Braithwaite would take over running the company as 'acting president'.
Wanda said Braithwaite, who started the firm in 1968, would 'work alongside Sunseeker's executive team and Wanda Group's post-merger integration team, who will manage the business, pending the appointment of a new CEO'.
In a statement Wang said: 'Wanda is committed to Sunseeker and its workforce and as such looks forward to working with the new management on initiatives that continue to build the brand. In the meantime, Wanda has already put a plan in place to transform Sunseeker to the next generation of success. Wanda will continue to provide both financial and management support to Sunseeker going forward.'
Wang is keen to sell more yachts to China's new millionaires and billionaires, who are slowly discovering their sea legs. Sunseeker has fitted out Chinese boats with mahjong [a popular game] tables and karaoke rooms. Wang, whose property firm, Dalian Wanda Group, is building Europe's tallest residential tower in the Nine Elms development around Battersea power station, owns a 108ft Sunseeker Predator.
Braithwaite said: 'Sunseeker is not just a boat manufacturer, it is a family and a global brand. We are proud of our heritage, but as a company, Sunseeker has never stood still and we will work very hard together with Wanda Group to further strengthen our leading market position, through cutting-edge innovation, world class services and a global distribution network. We have huge confidence that the team in Poole, as well as the worldwide distributor and supplier network, will pull together as a team to take Sunseeker forward to a successful future.'