After meeting Eric Lepeingle, it is easy to see why he has established a successful career. He is a thoughtful professional who started out in the yachting industry as a young Olympic sailor and has gone on to sell, deliver, advise and collaborate on an abundance of sizeable vessels. Imperial invited Eric to join the company last summer, and with superyachts such as Amadea, Lili, RoMEA and Flying Fox on the books, he has certainly stayed occupied. Nevertheless, flying in from his home in Cannes to a sunny Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Eric takes the time to catch up and tell me more about his role at Imperial and, as we move into a new decade, what he finds valuable in the industry.Photo: ImperialHow does Imperial stay ahead of the game and how can we ensure that the industry continues to grow?
We have to ensure that we are always looking to the future with a global outlook. In our relationships with clients and within the industry, we are being pushed to develop more in certain areas of the world, so it is the time to do it. Especially as clients and their expectations are evolving. As everyone knows, the way of buying has changed and the new yacht owner’s generation is driving new ways of thinking and enjoying products and so the actual onboard experience is what, I think, should also drive our way of thinking alongside our capacity to continuously think to improve what we need to do tomorrow. In five years time, these boats aren’t going to be the same. It is not an easy job, but we should be building for the future.Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesDo you have any particular career highlights?
I am always learning and so every day there are highlights. I had a blast when I first went on board Flying Fox - this boat is something different. I was conducting a tour of Flying Fox to show the guests the exterior lines and we were overlooking the 115-metre Pelorus. Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesFor some reason, that moment really resonated with me, with these two milestones in yachting side by-side. Another fond memory is a long time ago, I delivered a boat to a client in Porto Cervo and as we were entering into the harbour, he was there on the dock with his family, waiting for his new vessel. When he and his family entered the port, the smiles on their faces made me understand that our job in this industry is to bring happiness to people. We are 100% client-orientated and it is always an interesting experience. Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesWhat are you going to focus on in your new role?
I trust in long-vision management and in good profit - and that is not just in terms of capital, that is in the ways to bring in new and different ideas to maintain an element of adventure in business. I think the industry is driven by different values and everyone needs to find and identify their own.
This article was first featured in The SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now to receive your copy straight to your door and never miss another issue.