Benetti CEO Vincenzo Poerio joined the Italian shipyard as general manager in 1993. He brought with him a rich academic and professional experience in naval engineering and technical construction. Promoted to a managerial role, he first became managing director, then CEO in January 2011. He is ultimately responsible for the Megayachts Business Line at the Azimut Benetti Group. Here, as part of our Leadership Series, Vincenzo Poerio explains why the United States is a key market for Benetti, what drives that success, and what new markets are also high on the list.
Megayacht News: Benetti exhibited at the Rio Boat Show. Was that successful for the company, and how do you see the Latin American market developing?
Vincenzo Poerio: The show was very important, and it was fascinating to have such an important yacht displayed so prominently at the show. (Editor’s note: The Benetti Delfino 93 Zaphira was the yacht.) She garnered a great deal of attention, and we were able to cement a considerable number of relationships we made with potential Latin American buyers who we have met in the past at the Miami boat show.
Megayacht News: What are Benetti’s marketing plans to attract more North American buyers?
Vincenzo Poerio: The American market is of vital importance to us here at Benetti, but it is essential that before we try and exploit the full potential, we should ensure we have the right product. Americans want fast boats with shallow drafts by comparison to European buyers. That means the yachts have to be able to achieve 20+ knots without effort and that drafts must be no greater than 7 feet.
Megayacht News: Can you give us an update an update on the Fast Displacement series that was revealed at the Cannes show last year and will debut at the upcoming Fort Lauderdale show?
Vincenzo Poerio: The Fast Displacement series is the line of boats between 125 and 140 feet that we have developed specifically for the American market. The first is a 140 that is nearing completion now in our shipyard in Viareggio. Built for an American client who trusted us enough to buy her on the basis of renderings and plans, she is an attractive addition to the Benetti product range that ticks all the boxes for the American owner. Five hulls were sold in the first eight months following its release.
Megayacht News: Is the U.S. market still growing for Benetti?
Vincenzo Poerio: Without a doubt, it is growing strongly and is one that we are anxious to develop further. Americans, unlike, say, the Chinese, have a strong culture of yachting, fast, attractive yachts fit the lifestyle and aspirations of the wealthy, and it is our job to find many more of that type of client and introduce them to the joys of megayachting.
Megayacht News: How many boat shows does Benetti exhibit at around the world?
Vincenzo Poerio: We attend about 10 megayacht shows a year, which is a lot and even perhaps too many. The fact is that they are an essential marketing tool and have become an important focus for client and company relationships. They build a bond between the two, and while you can never say you sell a boat at a show, being at a show helps us sell boats.
Megayacht News: Would Benetti ever want to build a sailing yacht, like how Perini Navi now builds motoryachts?
Vincenzo Poerio: We have built sailing yachts in the past, but I think it unlikely we will do so in the future. Sailing yachts account for just 10 percent of the megayacht market, and of that Perini Navi builds 60 percent of them. I think it would be just too much effort to bite into that market, and if we did, we would just be hurting a fellow Italian shipbuilder. We have a good, strong brand clearly and well established as a builder of fine motoryachts, and I think that is where we should maintain our focus.