Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, has joined the revamped Henri Lloyd brand as a non-executive director on the board of the Henri Lloyd Group.
Henri Lloyd is best known for its sailing and waterproof clothing, and Ainslie is also taking on the role of chief technical adviser on product development to support the company’s mission to create the best performance sailing clothing in the world.
Chairman and controlling shareholder of Henri Lloyd, Hans Eckerström, comments: “We are extremely proud to have the most successful Olympic sailor of all time and without doubt one of the most influential men in world sailing on our team.
“We see the appointment of Ben, who is currently leading the British challenge to bring the America’s Cup back to British waters, as a really important step in achieving our business goals. It’s our belief that the market wants to see innovation and a different approach. We also believe that the coming together of Ben and Henri Lloyd will put us in a special position to launch practical initiatives to encourage new people to discover the joy of sailing.”
Ainslie, who has been World Champion 11 times and has won four Olympic gold medals and one silver, added: “I am proud to have sailed in Henri Lloyd clothing for my entire professional career and a lot has changed over that time.The performance requirements from our clothing has significantly transformed and will continue to do so. I see this as a great opportunity to be involved in a project that encourages a new way of thinking about sailing kit, helping to develop the next generation of performance gear.”
Henri Lloyd has also announced a new initiative called DYO – Design Your Own, so every sailing team can look like a pro crew. Using Henri Lloyd’s wholly owned own European factory, teams can now create their own unique kit with low minimum production quantity, fast turnarounds and reasonable pricing.
The Henri Lloyd brand was thrown a lifeline and sold in a pre-pack administration to Aligro UK on 11 June 2018, in a deal that took 128 jobs across 20 House of Fraser concessions, four stores and its Manchester headquarters. Aligro UK is run by Swedish investor Jonas Erik Andersson and is a subsidiary of Aligro Group.
Founded in Manchester in 1963 by Henri Strzelecki, Henri Lloyd was previously run by his sons, Paul and Martin Strzelecki, as chairman and chief executive respectively. This is the next phase in the brand’s history and, with a private equity cash injection and with a clear and focused strategy, it could spell longevity for the sailing brand whose jackets were adopted by the super stylish Italian “Paninari” in the 1980s.