Burak Akgül has been with Perini Navi for the past 26 years. He was recently appointed managing director for sales, marketing, and design. He has seen Perini Navi grow from a sailing superyacht builder to a group with multiple shipyards. Burak Akgül reports to Enrico dell’Artino, the newly appointed CEO, a role vacated by Giancarlo Ragnetti. Ragnetti steered Perini Navi from its formative years to where it is today and is currently on the board of directors. In this Leadership Series interview, Burak Akgül reveals the new CEO’s strengths, how the Perini Navi Cup is more than just a race, and more.
Megayacht News: What can you tell us about Enrico dell’Artino, the new CEO?
Burak Akgül: He is a man with a huge depth of knowledge gained elsewhere in the Italian industrial world. His time in the defense and automotive industries means he knows and understands far more about larger and more complex projects than the very young superyacht industry has ever had to contemplate in its relatively short 25-year history. He brings with him a different skill set, and we are keen to benefit from such knowledge.
Megayacht News: What similarities do you see among your sailing-yacht clients and Picchiotti clients?
Burak Akgül: They are two different styles of yachts, yet they share a common heritage of efficiency. The Picchiotti motoryachts designed by Vitruvius with their long, lean hull shapes are so very economical. The sailing yachts can, because of their automatic sail-handling capabilities, be run by a much smaller crew than a more conventional sailing yacht. The two Picchiotti yachts we have built and delivered disappeared for world-circling voyages very quickly and have reported a trouble-free existence. A third is limbering up to go and do the same, but not before the world gets to see her at Monaco this year. I have no doubt that in time there will be an owner of one of our sailing yachts who wants a motoryacht built by our Picchiotti brand as well.
Megayacht News: Is the Perini Cup run with a view to being a commercial success?
Burak Akgül: It takes a lot of time and effort to make it work, and each event has, it seems, eclipsed the last. It has been a marketing success. I can confirm that at least one boat has been sold as a result of holding each event, even the last one. It takes those who organize it here an incredible amount of time to get it right, and getting it wrong would not do anyone any good at all!
Megayacht News: Will there ever be another Dyna Rig Perini Navi yacht constructed?
Burak Akgül: Yes, there will be another one for sure. It is just that I can’t tell you when! Those who have experienced the joy of sailing aboard Maltese Falcon know that tacking and gybing are in fact huge non-events, and ironically because the rig is so easy to use and simple to control, the more this mega-sailing yacht actually is sailed. The Falcon Rig, as we prefer to call it, is ideal for the larger yachts, and as we all can see only too well, sailing yachts are following the motoryacht trend and becoming ever larger.
Megayacht News: Who are the competitive yachtsmen in the Perini Navi fleet? And what Perini Navi yachts are the most competitive?
Burak Akgül: Oh, you have to put Tom Perkins at the top of that list. He built three yachts with us, and when the second Andromeda was built, he very probably had the Millennium Cup in his mind. The owner of P2 enjoys a competitive edge to his yachting. Those who own a Perini Navi are already competitive by nature, and regattas just bring that spirit of adventure in them out into the fore.
Megayacht News: When Fabio Perini first conceived of the Perini Navi concept, did you ever think you would build more than five?
Burak Akgül: I have known Fabio Perini now for 26 plus years, and even after all that time, I never cease to be amazed at the vision of that man. I find myself time and time again asking myself, ‘How did he know that?’ He is so often right, it could be called scary, but the fact that he made such an early and substantial investment in this company is I think testament to the fact that yes, he really did believe there would be more than five. And I know he is delighted that the number is way over 55 now!