Swiss entrepreneur Pierre Genecand has launched a website in support of the start of his official campaign for the presidency of the FEI.
Genecand, 64, is the first candidate to declare their bid for the presidency, although it is widely expected that Princess Haya will seek a third four-year term.
Member nations, at a special General Assembly in Switzerland in April, voted overwhelmingly for a constitutional change extending the maximum tenure of the presidency from two terms to three.
Genecand confirmed afterwards that he was maintaining his candidacy following the statute change.
“I am deeply convinced that I could bring a renewed energy to the FEI in many aspects be it in sports, commercial matters or media promotion, not to mention the welfare of the horse,” he said.
Genecand’s website affords visitors the opportunity to register their support for him.
He intends to reveal the number of supporters to all 132 national federations just before the FEI General Assembly in December, in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the presidency will be decided.
Genecand, who works in international finance and has a passion for polo, has the backing of the Swiss National Federation. He has Swiss and Italian passports and spends six months of the year at his base in South America, where he breeds horses in Argentina.
He is a former long-term president of the Concours Hippique International in Geneva and cites a long history of involvement in equestrian sport. He said his travel gave him a worldwide vision of equestrian sports.
Genecand, who can speak French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, says the FEI had made much progress under Princess Haya, but adds: “The time has now come for necessary change in order to keep the dynamic of the FEI alive and to stabilise what has been established.”
He said when he announced his candidacy: “I am willing to put my knowledge of sports and business, as well as my never-ending energy to serve equestrian sports and help focus the attention back on the sport itself rather than on commercial aspects only.”
Genecand said he aimed for worldwide television coverage for all FEI championships at the very least.
“We need to place equestrian sports back on major channels and work for a greater understanding and recognition of our sport by general media.”
Genecand said he wanted greater communication between governing bodies and all stakeholders through regular meetings, at which issues could be addressed and solved in the best interest of the sport.
“I strongly believe that all stakeholders are vital elements of the sport and that every voice needs to be heard when it comes to deciding the future of our sport. It is a never-ending task and some may say it is a dream, but all great accomplishments started from a dream.”
Genecand, who holds a business degree, started his career in international insurance and pension funds. He rose to take over as the owner and chairman of the board of directors of Gesrep SA in 1982. The firm rapidly expanded to become one of the most successful insurance companies in Switzerland.
Gesrep was sold to Aon in 2005.
He has held several board roles with banks since. From 1995 to 2003, he was the vice-president of the Swiss Association of Insurance Brokers.
Genecand, who described himself as having 40 years of experience in national jumping competitions, became president of the prestigious Concours Hippique International in 1989 and instituted major changes which proved successful and raised its international profile.
During his time as show president, he was involved in various aspects of equestrian sports. From 1991 to 2003, he was a member of the World Cup Committee. He became a board member of Swiss Top Sports, the association of the biggest sports events in Switzerland. From 1992 to 2003, he was a member of the Alliance of Jumping Organisers. He was also a member of the organising committee of the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games in Rome, Italy.
In 2000, he was hired as a slotter for the television co-ordination of equestrian sports at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Genecand developed a passion for polo, which led him to become the president of the Gstaad Polo Club and the Hublot Polo Gold Cup in 2006.
Pierre Genecand’s website is www.peg-candidate.com