CEO Series: Q&A with Palumbo Boss Giuseppe Palumbo
The Virtual BOAT Show talks to Giuseppe Palumbo, founder and CEO of Palumbo Superyachts
What developments have taken place at the company during the past few months?
The pandemic has undoubtedly created huge difficulties to the nautical market. We have been responsive in creating security protocol in our five Palumbo Superyachts’ shipyards and in managing the construction orders. I am very proud of the work carried out by all the team, who has never stopped, in particular the one involved in the refit and after sales activities.
Both the approach to potential customers and the way of communicating have changed: today they are more digital-oriented. Enthusiastic customers have never stopped investing in the sector and showing interest towards our brands and we are gradually going back to normal, including visits to the shipyards, not only online conferences.
As a company, we decided to invest in the construction of a new 80 metre ISA Continental, designed by Gobbi, and we will start the hull construction by the end of September. We launched the new Columbus Classic and Crossover lines and we are about to introduce a new model around 100 ft of the Extra range. That’s not all: soon there will be new updates!
How do you think the superyacht industry will change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?
The restrictions linked to travels keep creating difficulties both to customers and to the sales team, increasing uncertainty. The arrival of the vaccine will undoubtedly help the economic market and will allow us to have a long-term vision again. The market of superyachts slowed down but I am confident that there will be a chance of recovery in the mid-term. The companies of the sector will definitely have to be financially solid to be able to compete and will have to invest in on spec superyachts. This will be a crucial asset in order to approach a wider target requesting shorter and shorter delivery times. We are moving in this direction too. The pandemic sped up some processes and forced us to take into account innovative communication technologies. Only the one who has clear ideas, well-structured production processes, monitored cash flows, cutting-edge projects and who relies on the right production partners will be able to proceed without consequences.
What has been the most enjoyable experience during your time as CEO?
The acquisitions of the ISA and Mondomarine brands were two very important moments of both my personal and professional path. Demanding and stimulating challenges that now are part of my daily life.
The Ancona shipyard, where we have moved our new build headquarters, is the beating heart of Palumbo Superyachts. I try to be there as much as possible, even if my commitments lead me to travel a lot among the other four shipyards of Savona, Naples, Malta and Marseille.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Besides the acquisitions, there is a memory that will be unforgettable: the launch of the 80 metre superyacht Dragon. All the customers and vessels we build are important and we always put passion and professionalism into them but this project in particular followed a special path. We had not acquired ISA yet but our family decided to invest in this model and start its construction in Naples. After a few months we sold our flagship and acquired the Ancona shipyard. This was where we decided to build the superstructure and move all the outfitting and delivery processes. It was very exciting to see the hull touching the water, a challenge won with success and determination.
How do you foresee the company evolving over the next five years?
We are in the consolidation phase and we are investing in technical equipment with the aim of providing more and more services to our customers. We want the market to understand the product offer it has at its disposal: four brands with different connotations and a brand dedicated to refit with a network of five shipyards in the Mediterranean. Columbus has its own product ranges (Crossover, Classic and Sport) but the brand can develop custom projects based on the customer's own design / idea and we guarantee engineering and production at the highest level. Under the ISA brand, we would like to continue developing lines that maintain the heritage of the models that have made the brand famous worldwide, like OKTO for example.
Mondomarine is devoted to the world of aluminum and explorers, while EXTRA remains a niche product with a strong personality that is keeping giving us great satisfaction.
Under the Palumbo SY brand, the refit /maintenance and conversion part, for vessels from 26 to 140 meters, has been managing over 500 superyachts (divided among five shipyards) with important works such as complete repainting, hull lengthening, engine room renovation, finalization of outfittings and much more. We will continue on this path and will be close to our customers in order to offer them a 360 degree experience, from the realisation of an idea, to construction, delivery and after sales or refit works.