Anouk Kooijmans has become chief executive of The Nomad Company, the Dutch outdoor company founded by her late father, which has been stabilized and upgraded in the last two years under the leadership of Peter Korver, a high-profile manager in the European sports and outdoor industry.
Anouk Kooijmans is the daughter of Bob Kooijmans, who established the Nomad brand in 1978 and passed away late last year. She is also the sister of Barry Kooijmans, who was running the company until he died with his wife and two young children in the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over the Ukraine in July 2014.
Kooijmans emphasized that Korver has performed outstanding work at Nomad. Taking over at a rough juncture, he led a comprehensive branding update and aptly adjusted Nomad's positioning in terms of marketing and distribution. The company decided to focus on specialist retailers such as Bever, Vrijbuiter and Globetrotter, which more than compensated for the discontinuation of a few larger accounts and the closure of its own stores in the Netherlands. It quit supplying private labels and distributing the Devold brand in the Netherlands, to concentrate on building up the Nomad brand.
Korver was also credited for initiating the development of Nomad products fitting with the requirements of consumers who increasingly opt for short trips or even micro-adventures. The company thus reports particularly strong take-up of its Pegasus range of sleeping bags, which are both comfortable and light weight.
The overhaul is enabling the Nomad brand to expand at double-digit rate this year, to reach an estimated €6.5 million. The growth comes chiefly from specialist retailers and online sales, through the online stores of the same retailers, along with Nomad's own online business and online retailers such as Coolblue and Bol.com.
About 80 percent of Nomad's sales are generated in the Netherlands, but international demand is predicted to increase faster in the next years, after Korver built up a network of quality agents in key markets and the new positioning is starting to take hold. The leading international markets so far are Germany, Belgium and the Nordic countries.
Korver has thus completed a clear repositioning and improved the company's financial situation, but he and the Kooijmans family apparently held diverging views about the way forward, particularly with regard to apparel. Kooijmans wants to focus more strongly on sleeping bags, mats and backpacks, for which the company may provide more distinctive products and support to retailers and distributors.
Anouk Kooijmans has been involved in the family business for many years while working as a consultant and a trainer facilitator, and spending several years in Asia. She stepped in for a few months when her brother died, and her father's passing probably made it more compelling for Kooijmans to influence strategic decisions at the company. After she took over the reins last month, she gained support from an interim sales and marketing manager and an external consultant.
Korver is relinquishing his minority stake in Nomad and he is open to other assignments, focusing on brand-building in the sports market. He rose to prominence in the Dutch market as general manager for Puma in the Benelux countries, leading several years of sustained growth. Korver has also held executive jobs at Nike, Dobotex International, Brunotti and Hi-Tec Sports, among others.