Whakamarama resident Keith Turner has resigned as chairman of the America’s Cup syndicate – and Team New Zealand say they won’t be rushing to replace him.
Keith says he can’t do the job justice from his Tauranga base with so much of the team’s business focussed in Auckland, Stuff reports today.
Keith also has directorships with Fisher & Paykel, Auckland International Airport and Chorus.
Team New Zealand released a statement saying they were reviewing their governance and no decision would be made on a board chairman until that was carried out.
“We recognise that private funders both current and future should have a greater role in setting the direction and providing oversight of the campaign,” reads the statement.
“Until we reach a conclusion with regards to the most appropriate governance arrangements, we will not be formally appointing a chairman to replace Dr Turner.”
Keith headed the five-strong board in the aftermath of the 2013 San Francisco meltdown, where the Kiwis surrendered an 8-1 lead to defender Oracle Team USA.
The board was increased last year as pressure mounted on the team’s governance systems.
The statement continues: “We thank Dr Turner for his significant contribution during his tenure and recognise the heavy demand that has been placed on both Dr Turner and the other directors.”
The syndicate endured a tough time under Turner’s short reign, which included the messy departure of long-term skipper Dean Barker and the loss of the Auckland hosting rights for the challengers’ series in January 2017.
They were handed to America’s Cup host Bermuda amid controversial changes to the event format mid-cycle that include reducing the size of the foiling catamarans.
Team New Zealand have protested the decision to the Cup’s arbitration system. They are still awaiting confirmation of the make-up of the arbitration board.
CEO Grant Dalton is in Europe trying to bolster the syndicates’ funding.
Government assistance beyond the $5 million already invested in the immediate wake of the 2013 Cup loss in San Francisco looks unlikely unless Team New Zealand can reverse the Auckland decision.