This month, Spirit Yachts has announced changes to its senior management team.

Previously Spirit Yachts’ Operations Director, Karen Underwood becomes joint Managing Director alongside Mike Taylor, former Head of Group Commercial at Oyster Yachts.

After nearly seven years as Managing Director, Nigel Stuart is moving into a non-executive director role and remains a company shareholder.

Spirit Yachts, CEO and Head of Design, Sean McMillan, commented, “This announcement marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Spirit Yachts. Karen and Mike’s combined experience makes for a strong duo at the helm of the company, which has continued to grow despite the pandemic. With Nigel in a non-exec role, Spirit will continue to benefit from his expertise and insight as we move forward.”

Hampshire-based Nigel is taking a step back from his current position at the Suffolk-based yard to work closer to home in a role outside of the marine industry.

Nigel Stuart commented, “As many people know, I am passionate about Spirit Yachts and I am delighted to be retaining an active interest in the company.”

Nigel added, “During the pandemic, Karen has shown exceptional management skills and has helped steer Spirit Yachts safely through a challenging period. Mike Taylor’s project management skills and wealth of experience in yacht construction are a great fit to help continue Spirit’s success.”


Managing Director and Head of Operations, Karen Underwood, added, “We are delighted to welcome Mike Taylor to Spirit Yachts. From a personal perspective, Mike and I were colleagues for many years during our time at Oyster and I am very much looking forward to working alongside him again.”

As joint managing directors, Karen and Mike will share the day to day running of the company. Karen continues to oversee the operations side of the business, whilst Mike will manage production.

After more than 30 years in the marine industry and having project managed over 70 yachts, Mike Taylor joins Spirit Yachts from his previous role at leading blue water cruising yacht company Oyster Yachts.

Managing Director and Head of Production, Mike Taylor commented, “Having sailed classic wooden yachts from an early age with my family, I have long admired Spirit Yachts’ passion for quality. The company has a bright future ahead with a healthy order book, a robust sales pipeline and a highly skilled in-house team.”

This year, Spirit Yachts will launch a Spirit 65DH (deckhouse) sailing yacht, a Spirit 72DH, a Spirit 30 day sailor and a P40 superyacht tender.

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