The European Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (Fesi) says it is making a “fresh start” under new leadership, to shift from a “reactive” attitude to a more “proactive” agenda. As previously reported (SGI Europe, Vol. 28 – N° 30+31 of Oct. 16), the industry's lobbying body in Brussels has a new secretary general, Jérôme Pero. Replacing Alberto Bichi, he was formally appointed by its general assembly on Nov. 24, with the task of implementing a new strategic development plan for the 2018-20 period. Pero, who is 36 years old, and Youri Mercier, who has been named deputy secretary general, were working for Fesi before on policy issues.

Frank Dassler, general counsel of the Adidas Group, has been elected to serve as the new president of Fesi for the next two years, taking the place of Luca Businaro, president of Assosport, who has also stepped down from the executive committee. Dassler will work with the same vice presidents as before in addition to Dirk Vinken, who is taking over his role Vinken, who runs the Dutch sporting goods industry association, FGHS, continues to sit on Fesi's board of directors and its executive committee, which is headed up by Dassler. Lew Kimble, who head up the operations of Foot Locker in Europe and internationally, was already a board member, and he has now joined the executive committee as well.

The strategic plan endorsed by the general assembly calls for a rotating presidency between global brands and national associations, as has been done recently with the alternation between an executive of Nike, the president of Assosport and an executive of Adidas.

As previously reported, Fesi will strive to work more closely with the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) under its new management – something that was reportedly difficult to accomplish before due to a clash of personalities, but there is nothing about it in the strategic plan or the press release.

As it turns out, Fesi and WFSGI will both have a dedicated task force charged with establishing the best possible ways of collaborating in all areas through their committees and in other ways, including the recruitment of new members, without deviating from their respective missions. In particular, the two bodies will seek to work more closely on sustainability and other issues of common interest.

In a first step in this direction, the number of Fesi's steering committees will be halved from ten to five, with some of them handling more than one topic. They will focus on digital issues, trade, product compliance, corporate responsibility and sport.

Fesi's new strategic plan calls for new efforts to improve operations, the transparency of its work and internal and external communication. To help do this, Pero and Mercier will be aided by another policy officer, Luca Boniolo, who has been serving at Fesi as an intern, and by a new communication director, Naomi Bar, who was working for the organization on intellectual property protection and other topics. They will officially take on their new functions at the beginning of 2018. There are plans to appoint an office manager in charge of membership services and a policy assistant in the new year.

Bar will be tasked with the revamping of Fesi's website in order to share more information with the members, the national associations, retailers and special groupings on its actions, European policy issues and market intelligence in a more targeted and “easily digestible” manner. It will include a job portal. A section on the website would list all the EU project that sporting goods companies could be involved in for funding, with a consultant guiding them for their participation.

Fesi will also revamp its quarterly newsletter. It will produce a video on its activities and use Twitter. Fesi is proposing to stage an annual event on a topic such as conferences on potential European funding programs and other themes.

Fesi is planning to work more closely with Fedas, the European sporting goods retailers' federation, on the promotion of sports participation and in other areas.  It will collaborate with Fedas and VSSÖ, the Austrian federation of sporting goods manufacturers and retailers, on the European Week of Sport, which will start in Austria next September. Since last June, Fedas has a new joint president, Michael Nendwich, who believes strongly in the need to share more market intelligence with suppliers. He continues to run VSSÖ at the same time.

Until now, Fesi has been collecting data from its members about the European market for skis and related products. The new management would like to extend this exercise to other sectors such as bicycles and racquet sports, for example, possibly partnering with market research companies in the longer term.

For Fesi, the priority is still to influence the passage of European regulations that will support the growth and competitiveness of the sporting goods industry in Europe. It will evaluate the impact of potential new policies on businesses, allocating resources where it can make a real difference.

Fesi represents the interests of about 1,800 sporting goods companies, directly and through 12 national sporting goods federations. It is also the interface with the European institutions for Fedas and the European Outdoor Group (EOG), among other stakeholders. As reported, Mark Held is planning to step down as secretary general of the EOG, but he will continue as a vice president of Fesi in charge of finance. Held supported the re-engineering of Fesi's operations.