PONANT announces a new phase in its development with the arrival of Hervé Gastinel as company CEO
The appointment of Hervé Gastinel as CEO of PONANT as of 29 March 2021 confirms the company’s ambition to become the market leader in luxury cruises and the world leader in sustainable tourism.
PONANT, a subsidiary of Artemis since 2015, has therefore opened a new chapter in its development. Over the last five years, the company has significantly stepped up a gear by doubling its fleet. It now has twelve (soon to be thirteen) vessels, including Le Ponant, the historic sailing yacht and Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first hybrid-electric polar exploration vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), due for delivery in a few months.
For more than thirty years, driven by a specific idea of the sea, PONANT has been taking its passengers to exceptional destinations, by following in the steps of the great explorers. At the same time, it has continued to implement its strategy of innovation and excellence, which has made its fleet the symbol of the French art of living.
François Pinault, Artemis’ founder and manager, said: “I am delighted with the arrival of Hervé 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.”
He also made a point of thanking “the visionary creator who is Jean Emmanuel Sauvée”, the outgoing CEO of PONANT.
Born close to the sea to a Breton mother, a philosophy teacher, and a Mediterranean father, a shipbuilding engineer, Hervé Gastinel is a true enthusiast of the sea and ships. This former officer-cadet and watch captain owns a yacht well-known on the regatta circuit and is an experienced deep-sea sailor. He took over the reins of the Beneteau group, world leader in pleasure craft, between 2015 and 2019, increasing its turnover from €970 million to more than €1.3 billion.
According to French yachtsman, Loïck Peyron, “Hervé Gastinel is passionate about the sea and sailors, but he is also just as passionate about innovation and sustainable development, two key issues for tomorrow’s maritime transport sector.”
After studying management at ESSEC, finance at Dauphine and public management at Sciences Po and ENA, he worked on various projects at the General Inspectorate of Finance before becoming technical advisor to the President of the French Senate, responsible for the economy, finance and new technologies.
Overtaken by a desire for “the concrete and operational”, Hervé Gastinel joined Saint Gobain as Planning and Strategy Director. He went on to manage the building materials company, Terreal, which has 25 manufacturing sites around the world, before joining the Beneteau Group. He also remains Senior Advisor for the consulting firm EIM.
Nicolas Hénard, the Chairman of the French Sailing Federation says that he is “a very special ENA graduate, who not only wields the full ENA toolbox but has the pragmatism of a skipper”. He now brings his management and international development skills to a company he is passionate about, in a sector undergoing rapid transformation.
This is a great challenge that Hervé Gastinel is about to take up. He concludes: “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 Sauvée.”