Ponant has named "true sailing enthusiast" Herve Gastinel as its new chief executive, who is tasked with overseeing the line restarting operations and recovering from the coronavirus crisis.
Gastinel will take the helm during a period Francois Pinault, founder and manager of Ponant parent Artemis, said would be vital to "accelerating Ponant’s development" over the coming years.
Former officer-cadet and watch captain Gastinel recently led pleasure craft specialist Beneteau Group through a four-year period of growth, increasing turnover from €970 million to €1.3 billion.
He will take over from Jean Emmanuel Sauvee at the end of the month.
"Contributing to the restart and international development of Ponant in a sector undergoing rapid transformation is a great perspective," said Gastinel.
"I look forward to joining the Ponant team, the employees on board as well as ashore, in France and abroad, and to continuing the great entrepreneurial adventure led by Jean Emmanuel Sauvee."
Over the past five years, Ponant has doubled the size of its fleet to 12 vessels, with a 13th – polar expedition vessel Le Commandant Charcot – due for delivery in a few months’ time.
Pinault added: "I’m delighted with the arrival of Herve Gastinel, he is a true sailing enthusiast, who has all the skills to transform this wonderful company and facilitate the resumption of operations.
"After a difficult year, the next months will be decisive in accelerating Ponant’s development for the coming financial years."