Big plans and a new CEO for the family-run yard responsible for the Leopards...

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Big plans and a new CEO for the family-run yard responsible for the Leopards...

Industry News

The Italian motoryacht builder Cantieri Navale Arno is busy restructuring since its longstanding exclusive sales and marketing relationship with the Rodriguez Group came to an end as a result of the latter’s recent financial difficulties.

JULY 2009

So now the family yard embarks on a new chapter of independence that will not only see it direct marketing but also should see it building up to 60m (197ft).
From its inception in 1907 until 1935, the yard that sits on the bank of the River Arno in the Tuscan village of Limite Sull’Arno, near Pisa, was known as Giuseppe Picchiotti & Sons. And fourth and fifth generation members of the same family are still managing the company today. Paolo and Sandro Picchiotti maintain the helm of the yard, respectively as president and vice-president, while the nephews, Nicola and Marco, sit with them on the board of directors.
However, a key move just recently was the appointment from outside the family of CEO Vincenzo Moccia (second from left in the management team photograph above). Having spent most of his career working with high-end brands outside the marine industry, Moccia’s ‘nautical’ CV began quite recently, but has been nonetheless impressive. In ’05 he joined the Camuzzi Nautica as commercial and marketing director responsible for the Baglietto and Cantieri di Pisa big-yacht building operations; and from ’07-09 he held a similar position at the Benetti division of Azimut-Benetti.
Cantieri Navale Arno employs around 60 full time, but can have as many as 250 in the yard at any one time. It can build up to 15 yachts a year from 23-46m (75-151ft). The present model designations include the Leopard 23, 24, 27, 31, 32, 34 and ther flagship 46, the first of which launched in ’08.
Certainly there are grand plans in place for an independent Leopard Yachts.
A new range of models will include new composite 43m and 56m models, both to be designed by Bacigalupo, who has been responsible for all of the Leopard Opens. Plus there will be a new division dealing with aluminium and steel projects.
Indeed significant development of yard infrastructure is planned. Plans include an expansion of the yard’s basin so that it will be able to accommodate yachts up to 60m, a new travel lift with a capacity up to 560 tons and a new 24m-high shed of 6,000 square-metres (square-feet), which is already under construction, that will allow up to four big yachts to be worked on simultaneously.
Plus there will be new administration and technical departments.
For those unaware of the yard’s recent history, Rodriguez Group founder Gerard Rodriguez got together with the yard in ‘74/75. He started by selling was then known as the Leopard 17 and 20m cabin-cruisers, but was soon given an exclusivity deal and found himself influencing the development of similar-size ‘open’ powercruiser models. At the time such open designs were just starting to become really popular in the South of France. The first Leopard Open 17 (58ft) powercruiser was unveiled in ’77 and of course all subsequent models have followed the same basic concept. The models are generally waterjet-propelled.
In the late ‘80s Rodriguez got together in a similar way to develop the Mangusta range at Overmarine in Viareggio.
Earlier this year the Paris Borse suspended Rodriguez Group shares. Indeed with the news of Leopard going out on its own, its future now looks increasingly precarious as its debt burden is considerably higher than its asset value.

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© Phil Draper