Carsten Unbehaun, the German-born executive who became the chief executive of Haglöfs at the beginning of 2018 (Compass Vol. 10 N° 19 of Oct. 3, 2017), replacing Peter Fabrin, returned to the European subsidiary of the brand’s Japanese parent company, Asics Corp., as its new chief executive on Nov. 20. Unbehaun will continue to run Haglöfs until a successor is found.
He has been with Asics since 2002, holding several management positions, including marketing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He had previously held senior roles at EON Hanse, the energy company, and at Talkine, a telecommunications firm. He was asked to run Haglöfs while serving as Asics EMEA’s managing director for Central Europe, based in Germany.
At Asics EMEA’s new headquarters in the Netherlands, Unbehaun is taking the place of Alistair Cameron, the British executive who has run it for the past ten years. Under his management, Asics’ sales in the region more than doubled, reaching nearly €900 million and giving the Japanese brand a market share in the performance segment of the European running shoe market estimated at 29 percent. As reported in the most recent issue of our sister publication, SGI Europe, Asics EMEA is deploying new strategies to recover from a recent sales decline. At Asics EMEA, Unbehaun will be assisted from Jan. 1 by Masashi Abe, who is being sent over from the group’s head office in Japan to serve as executive vice president.
In response to a question from us earlier this week, Motoi Oyama, president of Asics, denied a rumor that Haglöfs is up for sale, adding that the group is still trying to improve revenues and profits at the Swedish outdoor company, which was taken over by Asics in 2010. In a press release, Asics EMEA said that Haglöfs had enjoyed sales growth since Unbehaun became its CEO. It has been growing also under Fabrin.
A year ago, Unbehaun developed a new strategy that calls for Haglöfs to become a number one player in the Nordic countries in key categories by 2022, while strengthening its international operations and developing internet sales through premium partners and its own e-commerce. The company is striving to improve its presence especially in Central Europe and Asia.
To help implement the new strategy, earlier this year Haglöfs hired a new global product director, Paul Cosgrove, who previously worked for Montane and Berghaus (Compass Vol. 12 N° 9+10 of May 29, 2019). The process continued last month with a reorganization of Haglöfs’ marketing department. Victor Adler returned to the company as global marketing director after a stint with Bain & Company. He replaces Andreas Engstrand, who held the position from August 2018 to June 2019. In January, Adler will be assisted by Pernilla Holmgren, who will join Haglöfs from Adidas as seasonal campaign manager for the spring/summer season.
On the other hand, Wouter Lugard has moved from the Asics EMEA team, where he was category marketing manager in the Core Performance Sports division, to head up retail marketing at Haglöfs.
Troels Iversen will join the team in December as trade marketing manager for online retail accounts. He previously worked for Carlsberg and DZ Nordic, a distributor of ski brands based in Denmark. Daniel Sowa, formerly with Adidas, Reebok and Asics, will take over as head of integrated marketing communication.
Thomas Geier will join Haglöfs’ team as marketing manager for Germany, having previously worked for Red Bull and Rheinsport as a freelance marketing and sales representative. He will replace Jessica Naiser, who has joined Hoka One One as trade marketing manager.