Oman Sail's David Graham
Oman Sail's David Graham Image Credit: World Sailing

Dubai: David Graham, the incoming CEO of World Sailing is hoping to reinforce the sport and the organisation in the near future.

World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of sailing that is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), announced the appointment of Graham as CEO earlier this week.

“I am really looking forward to my new role with World Sailing. I would like to thank President [Kim Andersen] and the board for their confidence,” Graham said after getting the news of his lead role that would effectively commence from July 13.

“I look forward to working with them to develop World Sailing and building a strong organisation together,” he added.

Graham is no stranger to the Arabian Gulf region after heading Oman Sail since 2009, a year after the institution had been established. With sport as the driving vehicle, the Sultanate of Oman managed to re-kindle its own maritime heritage while promoting the country internationally.

Graham has more than two decades of experience in the sailing industry. After graduating from Southampton Institute of Higher Education with a distinction profile in Water-based Leisure Management, he worked his way up to being principal of the Windsport International Sailing Academy (WISA) in the UK.

He was also a sales executive for Performance Sailing Europe, where he went on to be Chairman of the Board and Managing Director. Through this, Graham managed to acquire Vanguard Sailboats from the US.

During his tenure, Graham was instrumental in establishing the sport in Oman, growing the national sailing team to one of the leading teams in Asia and developing the nation as a top destination for Class World Championships, America’s Cup World Series and Extreme Sailing Series events.

World Sailing’s President Kim Andersen was among the first to congratulate Graham. “As World Sailing looks to the future and the next phase of growth, we are confident that with David’s combined background in management and sailing, he is the right leader to help re-structure and provide a strong direction for the operations of our organisation,” Andersen said.

The Board of Directors from World Sailing worked with Dubai-based executive search firm, Odgers Berndtson for an ideal candidate. “The board received several high calibre applicants and having reviewed each one carefully we unanimously approved the selection of David Graham,” Scott Perry, World Sailing Vice President, disclosed.

“With better clarity over our finances through to 2021, now is the time to build up our future and this includes bringing in a CEO to guide the day to day operations and future negotiations of our organisation,” he added.

Graham’s experience as an active sailor is equally strong. An active sailor his whole life, Graham grew up as a dinghy sailor and was involved in major big boat series and races on-board both monohulls and multihulls, and he has recently taken up kiteboarding.