Forty-seven-year-old Bourke’s decision to resign from his position as CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, a very difficult one he said, was taken for family reasons. He has held the position since November 2002 and helped establish the Volvo as the world’s leading offshore ocean race.
Bourke will relocate from England to take up a position in his native Australia in the New Year.
'Glenn has done a fantastic job for the Volvo Ocean Race and for Volvo since 2002 and it’s very sad to see him leave,' said Gerry Keaney, Chairman of the Board of Volvo Event Management and Senior Vice President of Volvo Car Corporation.
'We understand his wish to be closer to his family and children in Australia. We realise that it will be very difficult to find a replacement for Glenn,' Keaney added.
Bourke said his role as CEO for the last five years had been extremely fulfilling. 'I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and the responsibility of overseeing the evolution of the race.
'I feel privileged to have been part of the decisions to introduce the Volvo Open 70 rule and to broaden the reach of the race by embracing new territories such as India, China, Southeast Asia.
'I have taken great satisfaction from overseeing the changes in the race, particularly as the sport itself has remained paramount. While it can still evoke the Corinthian spirit of the Whitbread days, it has become one of the world’s great sporting events. I have really enjoyed living and working at the top end of sport.
'I am confident that with the talent, experience and dedication of the people we have in place at Volvo Event Management UK, the 2008-09 iteration of the race will be a resounding success and underpin the Volvo’s status as the world’s premier round the world race.'
Bourke said he weighed up several factors in coming to what he said was a very difficult decision.
'It’s no secret to those people who know me well that being so far away from my family for so many years has been stressful at times. My children are now at an age where I feel I need to be spending more time with them. Ultimately they come first on my list of priorities.
'I am grateful for all the support I have received from the Volvo board and everyone associated with this world-class event over the five years that I have been in charge. I have forged some strong friendships and I take away many fond memories and a sense of pride in what we have achieved in that time.'
Prior to taking the role of CEO, Bourke held a similar position with illbruck Challenge, the winner of the 2001-02 race.
As a sailor he won three Laser world championships and competed for Australia at the Olympic Games in a Finn in 1992, and again in 1996 as Australian coach.
He made the switch from competition to event management by becoming venue and competition manager of the sailing venue at the Olympic Games in his hometown of Sydney in 2000.
He has seen action on both sides of the America’s Cup – as defender, trimming for Kookaburra in 1987, and as challenger, calling tactics for OneAustralia in 1995. He was also coach of Team Dennis Conner, the New York Yacht Club’s challenger for the 2002-3 Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup in Auckland.
Bourke has also been CEO of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.