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Arve Sundheim to retire as ISAF Secretary General

by ISAF Press Release on 8 Dec 2007
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Arve Sundheim (NOR) has announced his decision to retire from his position as ISAF Secretary General on 1 January 2008.

Jerome Pels (NED), currently ISAF Deputy Secretary General, will take over the role of ISAF Secretary General. Jerome joined ISAF as Competition Officer in 1997 and was promoted to Director of Sailing in 2002. Arve will remain at ISAF in a senior advisory role to the President and the ISAF Executive Committee through the Olympic Games in August and the Annual Conference/General Assembly in November 2008 in Madrid.

Arve Sundheim has had a distinguished career at ISAF, serving as the Secretary General since June 1995, working with two Presidents and through three Olympic Games. He will celebrate his 67 th birthday in the New Year.

Arve Sundheim said, 'After an exceptional year with the ISAF Centenary and the successful ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, I feel it is a good time to step down from the position of Secretary General and pass the helm on to my successor. After the appointment of Jerome as my Deputy in May this year, we have both been preparing for a seamless handover.

'The experience of working for the International Sailing Federation has been incredibly rewarding and I have greatly enjoyed working with such a diverse and passionate group of people. I am especially grateful to the ISAF President Göran Petersson and to the previous President, Paul Henderson, for the confidence and trust they placed in me over the years, and for the support they have given me.'

ISAF President Göran Petersson said, 'On behalf of ISAF, I would like to thank Arve for his unstinting contribution to, and great support of our Federation and the sport of sailing. Arve has played an important role in the development and success of ISAF, always supporting the ISAF policies with determination, integrity and professionalism.

'I would also like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best for the future. I am very pleased Arve has accepted to take on a role as a senior advisor to the ISAF Executive Committee for the upcoming Olympic Games and the Annual Conference in Madrid.'

Arve was brought to the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU) by the then newly elected President Paul Henderson to replace Mike Evans as Secretary General in June 1995. He joined the IYRU after an extensive career in the Royal Norwegian Navy and the Norwegian Sailing Federation, with experience from the Olympic Games in Montreal/Kingston in 1976 through to Barcelona in 1992 and also the Winter Olympic Games at Lillehammer in 1994.

His more than 12 years as Secretary General, have witnessed a period of great change in the sporting and sailing world and within the Federation.

From eight staff members and a budget of £750,000 in 1995, the ISAF Secretariat has grown to 20 in 2007 and an overall budget of £2,446,000 .The Federation has increased its number of Member Nations to over 120, whilst the number of ISAF International and Recognized Classes has almost doubled to more than 90.

During his tenure as Secretary General, there have been some landmark moments in ISAF's history. Shortly after Arve joined ISAF in October 1995, the IYRU became one of the first International Sports Federations to move online with the launch of the www.sailing.org website. Following on from 1996 Olympic Games, the IYRU changed its name to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and moved its office from London to Southampton in 1997. A new Advertising Code was introduced in 2000. The ISAF Sailing World Championships was held for the first time in Cadiz in 2003, the new Medal Race format for the Olympic Games was introduced in 2005. This year ISAF celebrated its Centenary year with a series of events including the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais and the launch of the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame in Estoril.

Arve said, 'I wish Jerome every success in his new role as Secretary General and have every confidence in his ability to continue the development of ISAF. Over the past 12 years it has been a privilege to work with so many committed and enthusiastic people from every corner of the sailing and sporting world. I look forward to saying a final goodbye to my friends and colleagues next November at the ISAF Annual Conference in Madrid.'
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