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Philippe d’Ornano



When I met my wife 30 years ago three things brought us together: a passion for conservation, the sea and a desire to ‘give something back’ to society. As keen divers we took an early interest in marine conservation programmes working alongside marine biologists and fisheries in South East Asia and the Caribbean.  It was a natural progression to setting up our own foundation, working with artisans from small fishing communities, helping them learn new skills using waste material such as seashell to access an alternative, sustainable source of income.

Twenty years on this foundation is well established and running well with a dedicated management team in place. The journey has been rewarding as we feel we make a direct, long-lasting contribution to people’s lives. With a daughter in her early teens, I was keen to find a way to contribute also to our/her community in the UK, helping young adults like her get ready to embrace the world with energy, ambition, confidence, self-respect, respect for others – and with the unshakable belief that if you work hard and have sound values life will be a wonderful experience.

My love of the sea, my passion for sailing, stewardship and the charity’s ethos naturally steered me towards Tall Ships Youth Trust.


I was born into a French family with deep roots around the Mediterranean and a long military tradition. I grew up spending as much time as possible by, in or on the sea, including sailing offshore from a young age. After finishing business school, I decided to follow the family tradition, graduated as an officer and spent time serving in the French military. To this day, I cherish the life lessons learnt and true camaraderie built during those years in the services.

I joined the civilian world through a career in professional services, originally in Paris then in London, where I moved permanently in 1991. From early on, I specialised helping global financial institutions, in particular investment banks, manage their financial and operational risks. This kicked off an international career across the main financial centres in Europe, the US and Asia. As a partner with EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) my role today primarily focuses on managing our global relationship with some of the firm’s largest clients.

I’m married with one daughter. Our family enjoys London and its access to a buzzing cultural scene. We also enjoy spending time outdoors sailing, diving, skiing or rock-climbing. We competed together in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race sailing onboard Tall Ships Youth Trust’s 72ft, Challenger 2, which was a great experience as a family.

Time spent outdoors over the years naturally drove me to become a member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the SMTC (Cresta Run), a qualified RYA Yachtmaster, a scuba-diving instructor and a skiing instructor.

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