Fjällräven has appointed John Christian Walbrecht at the helm of Fjällräven North America, following its acquisition of the share it did not already own in its U.S. subsidiary. Arctic Fox, the company that introduced Fjällräven in the U.S. market two and a half years ago and ran its store in Manhattan, previously retained a minority share of 30 percent in Fjällräven North America.
Walbrecht formerly worked with Timberland, Dr. Martens and Spyder, among others. A few years ago he set up his own company, Brand Base, which put together a network of distributors for Bula, the Canadian maker of winter hats, as it was expanding into outerwear last year.
In terms of sales, the Fjällräven subsidiary will operate independently from the Wyoming-based operations of Brunton, a brand that was bought in 2009 by the Fenix Outdoor Group, the owner of Fjällräven. The office in Wyoming runs the Brunton brand along with the U.S. distribution of Primus, a brand of stoves owned by Fenix. Fjällräven North America and Brunton will still achieve some synergies in administration and finance, to be centralized in Wyoming; and in logistics, as Fjällräven will lean on Brunton's logistics center in Colorado.
Separately, the Fenix group is no longer involved in Greendoor Oy, a Finnish outdoor distribution company that it indirectly took over when it bought Partioaitta, a leading outdoor retail chain in Finland. Greendoor has distribution deals with a flurry of outdoor brands ranging from Marmot to Regatta, Tatonka, Nalgene, Julbo and more. It was owned at 70 percent by Partioaitta and at 30 by Partiovaruste, another Finnish outdoor retailer that is itself controlled by scout organizations. Two months ago the managers of Greendoor, which reaped sales of more than €3 million last year, entirely bought out the shares held by both Partioaitta and Partiovaruste.
Meanwhile, John-Åre Lindstad, who built up Fjällräven in Norway in the last three years, was appointed European manager and deputy general manager for the Swedish outdoor brand. This comes after Alex Koska's function was widened to become vice president of global sales at the level of the Fenix Outdoor Group, the holding company that owns Fjällräven along with other brands and retail activities. Lindstad will focus entirely on Fjällräven, while Koska will steer operations that deal with several Fenix brands.
Lindstad remains country manager in Norway, and he was also appointed country manager in Sweden. In both cases, he will be backed up by a new sales manager who will take over many of the daily responsibilities: In Norway the job goes to Haldis Lenes, former key account manager; and in Sweden it was attributed to Mikael Andersson, former country manager for Fjällräven there. The function of Swedish country manager is a little lighter than others, since the operations in Sweden may lean on the head office of Fjällräven and the Fenix group. Lindstad earned his stripes at Fjällräven by doubling the brand's sales in Norway in less than four years.