Megayacht News Leadership Series: Roberto Zambrini, Mondomarine
Roberto Zambrini is a 31-year veteran of Italy’s yachting sector. He spent nearly 20 years with marine import/export company SAIM, finishing his tenure there in 2004 as its executive vice president. Zambrini was then named managing director at Sanlorenzo. In 2008, he became managing director of Cantieri di Pisa, before moving to Fortitude Srl after three years. In 2012, he became CEO of Mondomarine, acquiring it with his business partner, Alessandro Falciai, in 2014. Last year, Zambrini and Falciai also bought Cantieri di Pisa. Here, he discusses plans to expand both superyacht brands.
MegayachtNews.com: What potential did you see for Mondomarine when you acquired it in 2013?
Roberto Zambrini: I was the CEO at that point. Alessandro Falciai, my partner and friend, decided to acquire the company because we wanted to take advantage of the shipyard’s deep knowledge and proven skills of building in steel. We celebrated the centenary of the Savona shipyard, Cantieri Navali Campanella, last year. Of course, it’s now known as the Mondomarine shipyard. When we set up the business, we also created a fast-reacting and flexible organization that provides the fastest possible feedback to any client request. We understand that providing a full custom project draft in a short time will be one of the keys to the yard’s success.
MegayachtNews.com: How have you developed Mondomarine’s design talent?
Roberto Zambrini: Mondomarine doesn’t identify with a single designer, but offers a range of projects by nine different designers. We work with enthusiastic, young designers like Luca Vallebona and Stefano Inglese Vafiadis, who bring innovative ideas to their designs. We’re convinced that great design with a fast turnaround is becoming more important as an added-value part of our relationship with clients. Beyond looking for a reasonable price and aesthetic design, customers also want to come away with the feeling that the shipyard has really met all their needs.
MegayachtNews.com: Have you made structural improvements to the shipyard?
Roberto Zambrini: In the last three years, we have infused the Savona shipyard with new vitality and modernity through important restructuring work. The sea-front shipyard totals 35,500 square meters, of which 9,500 are under cover. We have a 100-meter jetty for maxiyacht mooring, an 820-ton travel-lift and a 300-ton trolley. Our plan is to double the area to have the space to build vessels up to 80 meters. We’ve also made important investments by moving the commercial and marketing duties to Monaco. We strongly believe that concentrating those activities in a strategic location like the Principality of Monaco will be very effective.
MegayachtNews.com: Which of your recent launches are you most proud of?
Roberto Zambrini: Without question, M/Y Serenity. This yacht is the first of the SF40 line, with exteriors and layout designed by Luca Vallebona and interiors by Fatema Almaidan of SFL Design. The design is truly innovative and breaks away from the current fundamental principles of yacht design. To achieve the privacy the owner requested, the designer created an unusual general arrangement that assigns both the interior and exterior areas of the upper deck exclusively for the owner’s use.
MegayachtNews.com: Why did you acquire Cantieri di Pisa last year?
Roberto Zambrini: Cantieri di Pisa is an historical brand and synonymous with Italian quality. It represents a benchmark for every yacht builder all over the world. I was managing director of Cantieri di Pisa when they stopped production, because there was a problem with Gruppo Baglietto, who owned the Baglietto and Cantieri di Pisa brands at that time. Four years later, when we saw the chance to buy the company, I knew the situation of the yard, products, facilities, and people. We were able to do the deal quickly.
MegayachtNews.com: How has the market reacted to the revival of the Akhir line?
Roberto Zambrini: The Akhir line has a significant place in the history of design, not just yacht design. Many boaters have been waiting for someone who would bring back production of such an elegant and unmistakable design. Designer Luca Dini has been excellent in reinterpreting, incorporating, and innovating the original Akhir design into our three new models. We’ve had strong interest from clients and will soon have interesting news to share.
MegayachtNews.com: Why did you develop the Cantieri di Pisa 22m series?
Roberto Zambrini: We see more and more clients who want to downsize because their yacht is too large. They want a smaller boat with only one or two crew, which they can manage themselves. It’s very difficult to find a 22-meter yacht that can be heavily customized so the clients feel like it is truly their own. Those are the clients we are targeting.
MegayachtNews.com: Where are your strongest markets these days?
Roberto Zambrini: Building a custom yacht between 40 and 70 meters usually involves experienced owners. It’s rare our clients are having their first boating experience. The Middle East and Europe are today our strongest markets. We are also working with clients in the U.S. and Central America. We are experiencing big growth in the U.S. that will probably last years. We’re hoping to see this kind of sustained growth in the European market, too.
MegayachtNews.com: Are you optimistic about your brands?
Roberto Zambrini: Definitely. We will keep on growing Mondomarine. We really just started with Cantieri di Pisa. We should see that brand grow strong in the near future. We believe that its equity as an historic brand will combine with the practical advantages of the shipyard. We are using the Cantieri di Pisa facilities to build units up to 40 meters, regardless of the brand. The same thing will happen with our Mondomarine shipyard, where we will build all yachts over 40 meters. We expect Cantieri di Pisa to achieve the same success we have seen with Mondomarine over the past few years.