Sir Keith Mills to invest several million Euros into offshore project

Spanish skipper Javier Sanso sails onboard his "Imoca 60 Acciona 100% Ecopowered" monohull on October 11, 2012 off the coast of Brest, western France, during a training session ahead of the 7th edition of the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race

Sir Keith Mills, 62, has spent his entire working life in the advertising and marketing business. He quit school at the age of 15, with no qualifications, and worked his way up from the bottom, founding his own advertising company in 1985. In 1988 he set up Air Miles, an incentive scheme that filled spare capacity on planes, and eventually sold it to British Airways, making a small fortune.

Sir Keith Mills Photo: Ian Roman / TeamOrigin
In 2001 he created Nectar, a brand loyalty program that became the biggest one in the UK with over 19 million customers, nearly half of the adult population. According to London's Guardian newspaper, the other half 'can buy T-shirts that pithily answer the eternal question with the response: 'No I haven't got a f***ing Nectar card.'' He then sold Nectar and netted £160 million.

In September 2003 he became Chairman of London 2012 and embarked on two major marketing campaigns. The first one was to pitch the London candidacy to the International Olympic Committee, something he was successful in as the UK capital was selected as host city in July 2005. The second major marketing campaign involved the actual London Olympics and Sir Keith's team was able to bring in more than £1 billion of sponsorship money.

If such a successful, self-made businessman that has been selling and marketing products for nearly half a century states in a press conference that he has found an 'extraordinary business opportunity' for him and that he will invest 'several' million euros of his own money, there must be little doubt he knows what he's talking about. If he then closes the same press conference by saying that he spent his entire career marketing products and that this one is 'one of the best' he has seen then you wish you could have invested some of your savings there as well.

What does all this have to do with sailing? A lot, especially with single-handed and double-handed offshore sailing, and all these enthusiastic statements were made during the international press conference Sir Keith Mills held in Lausanne, Switzerland last Saturday.

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