Ponant names new boss ahead of cruise restart

A new boss is taking the helm of French cruise line Ponant as it prepares to resume operations following the Covid-19 crisis.

Herve Gastinel, a former officer-cadet and watch captain, headed pleasure craft group Beneteau for four years from 2015, increasing its turnover from €970 million to more than €1.3 billion.

He takes over from outgoing Ponant chief executive Jean Emmanuel Sauvee as the line prepares to take delivery of its 13th ship, Le Commandant Charcot, claimed to be the world’s first hybrid-electric polar exploration vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The company, owned by investment company Artemis which also controls auction house Christie’s, has doubled the size of its fleet in five years.

Artemis founder and manager Francois Pinault said: “I am delighted with the arrival of Herve Gastinel; he is a true sailing enthusiast who has all the skills to transform this wonderful company and facilitate the resumption of operations.

“After a difficult year, the next months will be decisive in accelerating Ponant’s development for the coming financial years.”

Gastinel added: “Contributing to the restart and international development of Ponant in a sector undergoing rapid transformation is a great perspective.

“I look forward to joining the Ponant team, the employees on board as well as ashore, in France and abroad, and to continuing the great entrepreneurial adventure led by Jean Emmanuel Sauvee.”

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