On the eve of the Ispo Munich show at the beginning of this month, the annual assembly of the European Outdoor Group (EOG) endorsed the nomination of Mark Held as its new president, giving him a two-year mandate that can be renewed once. He takes the place of Jon Jansen, general manager of Keen Footwear Europe, who has brilliantly steered the organization for the past four years. Jean-Marc Pambet, president of Salomon, will continue to serve as vice president of the EOG. Jansen will remain a member of the board.
Held had been running the European association from its start in 2003 as its secretary general. He was replaced in the post on Jan. 1 by Arne Strate, with an expanded team of eight people around him. A new post has been created for Scott Nelson, who will lead a project to deal with single-use plastics, with the goal of delivering a roadmap by the end of 2019 for a significant reduction by the industry.
The whole new set-up was proposed by the EOG's board of the directors at the European Outdoor Summit in Malmö last September, but it was not fully disclosed until Ispo because Held's nomination had to be approved by the membership, after checking whether there would be any other candidates for the post. None showed up before or during the meeting of the assembly in Munich.
The members also approved a proposal to expand the board of the EOG from eight to 12 people, doubling the number of women from one to two. Antje von Dewitz, the chief executive of Vaude, who gave strong support to Messe München's new project in spite of the fact that the company's head office is close to the show's former venue at Lake Constance, remains on the board.
The other woman is Anne Schott, who runs the French-based Outdoor Sports Valley. She was elected at the assembly meeting along with four other new directors including the first American on the board, Ryan Gellert, who runs Patagonia Europe. The others are Oliver Pabst, head of Mammut; Michael Gogniat, international sales director of Ternua; and Matthia Zaggle from W.L. Gore & Associates. Three former directors – Martin Axelhed, Richard Leedham and Stefan Merkt – have stepped down at the end of their terms.
The reason given for an expanded board was a desire to better represent both vendors and retailers from more countries, especially from Scandinavia. Two board seats are still vacant, and they are being set aside in principle for representatives of a Scandinavian brand and a retailer.
Held, who is about to reach the age of 60, had already decided eighteen months ago to work less for the EOG, and he was planning to get a promotion from vice chairman to chairman of the Fair Labor Organization. His nomination at the head of the EOG seems logical because of the increased range of activities in which the EOG is involved and a need to ensure a certain continuity. He will now work for the EOG three days a week.
The EOG, founded in 2003 by 19 of the world's largest outdoor companies, counts 103 full-member brands and ten associate members.