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RYA Chair’s Term Extended Till November 2023 as Search for Successor Begins

27th June 2022
Chris Preston
Chris Preston has been invited to remain in his post as RYA chair until November 2023 Credit: RYA

The Royal Yachting Association has today (Monday 27 June) announced that the board has agreed a one-year extension to the tenure of Chris Preston, a passionate sailor with more than 50 years' experience of racing and cruising, as its chair.

The extension provides a welcome period of stability for the RYA following a time when many external factors have presented major challenges — including the impact of the global pandemic, a significant increase in watersports activities combined with changing attitudes to both participation and membership, and regulatory uncertainty resulting from Brexit.

Board chairs ordinarily serve a fixed four-year term. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances including a new chief executive and four new non-executive directors all joining in the last eight months, Preston has been invited to remain in post as RYA chair until November 2023.

The board, through its nominations committee, will shortly commence the open process to appoint a successor for the role of RYA chair and the one-year extension of Preston’s tenure affords the organisation the benefit of a healthy handover period.

In his sporting and volunteer roles, Chris Preston has been a school governor, an officer of two sailing clubs and member of various boards within the boating industry.

He and his wife Victoria currently race a 1924 West Solent One Design with a Corinthian mixed crew, taking and training young people whenever possible, and are supporters of the UKSA yachting charity.

His professional career with Bank of America, Rothschilds, Citi and the BCV Group has given Chris many opportunities, including as CFO and CEO, and he has served on, or chaired, multiple boards, including for partially state-owned or co-operative organisations.

Commenting on the extension of his appointment, Chris said: “I have immense respect for the association and its staff and volunteers. My key objectives in the year ahead will be to work with the RYA executive and my board colleagues to continually improve the services we provide and to represent the interests of our members, and indeed all boaters, while maintaining the exceptional performance and motivation of the British Sailing Team.

“These objectives will be supported by the extensive and collaborative process we are currently undertaking to set out our strategy for the future, which we look forward to launching later in the year.

“The vital support we receive, both from our members and our funding partners, will ensure that we are well-positioned to do everything we can to create even more opportunities for all communities to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of getting afloat.

“I very much look forward to working with the RYA team and members to maintain our momentum in meeting the future challenges of UK boating.” 

Published in News Update
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