David King, one of the original founders of UK boatbuilder Princess Yachts, is to step down from his role as chairman at the end of August.

King will remain as a director with the company and will focus mainly on new yacht design and development, an area that he has always been heavily involved in.

Replacing King is Philippe Mellier, CEO of the De Beers Group and former executive VP of Alstom S.A, a leading high-speed train producer. Mellier has also worked in the automotive sector, holding senior and board-level positions within Ford, Renault and the Volvo Group.

A French national, domiciled in the UK, Mellier will continue as CEO of The De Beers Group, the world’s leading diamond firm, and serve in a non-executive capacity at Princess.

“This change of roles will allow us to strengthen and grow the business while still benefitting from David’s unmatched experience and skill in designing the best motor yachts in the world,” says Chris Gates, Princess MD.

“We look forward to welcoming Philippe into the Princess family and benefitting from the vast experience he brings from the luxury goods and high-performance manufacturing sectors.”

Plymouth-based Princess Yachts offers a range of motoryachts, classic flybridge craft, V Class sporting yachts, S Class sportbridge yachts and M Class yachts.

In 2008 the company was acquired by L Capital 2 FCPR, an investment group sponsored by LVMH (Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton) and Groupe Arnault.