Olav Nietzer will run the European operations of the Black Diamond Equipment brand from next June 1, acting in the new position of brand and sales director in Europe.
He will gradually take over some of the functions of Christian Jaeggi, who set up the brand's European operations in Basel, Switzerland 18 years ago. Jaeggi, who is now 58 years old, will step down from his position of managing director of Black Diamond AG on May 31, and he will not be replaced. The company says he will continue to be involved to ensure the transition and in new projects.
The American company says it is changing the European management structure from a “regional-centric model” to a more global “functional-centric model,” enabling more direct communication between North America and Europe.
Neitzer, who is 51 years old, joined BD in January 2013 after working as European sales director for Burton and its Burton Red and Anon brands. He had previously held various positions at Johnson & Johnson, UBS and Credit Suisse. Neitzer will oversee a team of 15 employees including Stephan Hagenbusch, who joined BD last January from Amer Sports to act as director of European marketing.
The European operations run by Jaeggi consist of 58 employees, 25 of whom are exclusively concerned with the BD brand. Some of the others take care of Gregory Mountain Products, the other big arm of Black Diamond Inc., whose future within the group is uncertain. Until further notice, Andrea Merholz remains as brand and sales director for Grergory in Europe.
BD has also announced the appointment of Niclas Bornling as vice president of marketing for North America. He has been working for Salomon at its head office in Annecy, France for the past ten years, most recently in the role of marketing director. Prior to that, he took care of marketing for Salomon in Sweden and the Nordic countries for five years.
Meanwhile, Black Diamond Inc. reported a net loss of $2.0 million for the past financial year, compared with a profit of $5.9 million in 2012, on 15.9 percent higher revenues of $203.9 million. The loss was attributed to higher spending to finance Black Diamond's diversification into apparel and Poc Sweden's launch of apparel for snow sports and cycling, plus the takeover of Gregory's business in Japan.
Additional investments of around $5 million have been budgeted for this year, with about half of the amount going into BD apparel and Poc.
Peter Metcalf, the chief executive of the group, said that it could raise its compound annual growth rate above 20 percent if it would “monetize” some or all of Gregory's assets. The proposal has triggered substantial interest from potential investors and licensees.
Metcalf predicted that the group's sales will increase by between 6 and 11 percent for the first half of the present year and by 19 and 28 percent in the second half.