Ben Ainslie joins Henri Lloyd board, will be technical advisor
Jul 1, 2019
British sports-casual brand Henri Lloyd has said Sir Ben Ainslie is joining it and will serve as a non-executive director of the group. He will also become Chief Technical Advisor on product development “to support the company’s mission of creating the best performance sailing clothing in the world.”
The Ainslie connection is a big deal for any brand operating at the performance end of the sailing clothing market, but is also something of a coup for a band that want to make an impact at more of a lifestyle clothing level as well.
He’s one of the most successful sailors in the history of the Olympic Games and won medals at every event from 1996 up to 2012. That included winning gold medals four times.
That kind of achievement is a huge marketing plus for any company and with Ainslie having worn the brand for many years, it has already benefited from its links to the sports star.
So it's interesting that he also now has a technical role at the company. “I am proud to have sailed in Henri Lloyd clothing for my entire professional career and a lot has changed over that time,” he said. “However as everyone can see, the pace of change in the world of sailing is accelerating and with it the physical demands on sailors is higher than ever before. The performance requirement from our clothing has significantly transformed and will continue to do so.”
He added that he sees his new role as an opportunity “to be involved in a project that encourages a new way of thinking about sailing kit.”
Chairman and controlling shareholder Hans Eckerström described him as “one of the most influential men in world sailing” and praised his “winning mentality, drive, focus on detail and his willingness to embrace new technologies.”
At the same time as the company announced the Ainslie news, it also unveiled a new initiative called DYO – Design Your Own, in which “every team can look like a pro crew.”
Henri Lloyd said that “for too long race crews have had to simply accept the standard designs and colours from the established brands, whereas pro crews have had the luxury of being able to create distinctive and unique identities for themselves. Using Henri Lloyd’s wholly-owned European factory, teams can now create their own unique kit with low minimum production quantity, fast turnarounds and reasonable pricing.”
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