Leighton has a substantial background in the corporate sector. He was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CML Group, Inc., a NYSE listed company that specialized in retail and direct marketing. Among many other activities, Leighton is currently a Director of MetLife and a Trustee of the Lahey Clinic (Burlington, Mass.) where he co- chairs their capital campaign. He holds a bachelor's degree and an honorary law degree from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a member of the faculty and later president of the alumni council.
'We are thrilled to have Charlie on board. He brings a wealth of new ideas, understands the traditions of the sport and the challenges facing sailing today,' said US SAILING President Janet BAXTER. 'We have spent the past several years building a solid foundation for growing US SAILING, from finances, to volunteers and a professional management team. For the next phase, we identified a specific profile and skill-set for the Executive Director that would take US SAILING to the next level and expand the support we provide sailors across the country. Charlie fits that profile perfectly. His management experience and sailing background will be extremely valuable as US SAILING works to enhance support for the many facets of sailing, from Olympics and Offshore, to youth and education. He will also have strong insight into how we can continue improving our services to sailing organizations across the country.' Baxter summarized by adding, 'Charlie's love of sailing will help him serve our members at all levels, including new sailors, organizations and elite athletes.'
Sailors from outside the organization also recognize the impact Leighton will have. 'Charlie brings a unique set of credentials to US SAILING,' offered Gary JOBSON, well-known sailing author and TV commentator. 'As a sailor, he has successfully raced his Hinckley 42 over many years. As an administrator, he is a past Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. And as a businessman has owned and operated major companies across the United States. He is a very personable leader who is used to managing big companies and fundraising at a high level. His many years of experience in sailing, business and philanthropy will be a major asset for US SAILING.'
'Sailing has always been my passion,' said Leighton. 'I am excited to bring my corporate, sailing, and fundraising expertise to an organization that is the leader in the sport. I am looking forward to working with the volunteers and management team in Portsmouth to enhance the value US SAILING brings to its members. I also see an incredible opportunity to further expand the organization's fundraising efforts, and establish a solid, long-lasting financial base for the Olympics and many of US SAILING's grass roots programs.'
Charles LEIGHTON succeeds Nick CRAW, who, after more than three years at the helm of US SAILING, is returning to Colorado where he will take over the presidency of the Automobile Competition Committee for the US (ACCUS).