I don’t think it was with any great regret that the management of BMW Oracle Racing accepted Chris Dickson’s resignation yesterday.
It would have been a very uncomfortable three months for everyone concerned, if the former CEO, skipper and helmsman had stayed the full course of his contract.
The question that we wanted answered at the press conference yesterday in the team’s plush cinema was whether they would ever again place that much power in the hands of one man.
Kiwi journo Peter Montgomery asked Laurent Esquier: “In the 21st century, is it too much for one man now to whistle, dance and do a jig on a five-cent piece all at the same time? Can one man do everything? Should you have a separate CEO, a separate skipper?”
The answer, which was a little surprising considering what had just happened in the Semi Finals, seemed to be: “Why not?”. When Paul Cayard tried to do this with Il Moro di Venezia in 1992, he said ‘never again’. Peter Gilmour came to the same conclusion a few years later. It might have worked for Dennis Conner a few decades ago, but not in the modern era.
Having the CEO make the decision about whether or not the helmsman (ie himself) was up to the role of steering the boat, was what ultimately torpedoed BMW Oracle. Surely they wouldn’t make the same mistake again? Would they?