The new European office of Black Diamond in Innsbruck is now expected to become operational by June 30. As previously reported, the move should result in a $2.2 million cut in annual operating costs (See The Compass Vol. 9 N° 7-8 of April 14).
The relocation of the European office from Switzerland to Austria will not only reduce costs. According to the management of the group, which intends to focus the BD brand on climbing and other mountain sports, it will also provide a more attractive environment for its employees, who will have immediate access to the surrounding mountains.
Black Diamond had originally intended to open the office in May, and to recruit a dedicated European sales manager. After talking to many candidates, the company has finally decided to extend the responsibilities of Stephan Hagenbusch, naming him as director of sales and marketing. He will work with a new strategic accounts coordinator and a specialty accounts coordinator who are currently being recruited.
As previously indicated, BD is shifting its sales strategy in Europe from a regional and category-based model to a distribution channel structure. One of the purposes is to establish closer cooperation with its top 30 strategic key and specialty accounts in the region.
In discussing BD's financial results for the first quarter of this year, Mark Ritchie, president and chief operating officer of the company, mentioned the work that it is doing with two key accounts, Go Outdoors in the U.K. and Addnature in Sweden. It recently installed a customized product display at Go Outdoors and a softshop in a physical Addnature store. Similar activities are going on in almost every country in the European Union.
BD has also made three promotions for its European office. Susanne Pfrengle, a six-year veteran of the company who worked most recently in the retail marketing department, will be the marketing manager. Christian Lehman will remain sports & community marketing manager, but will add responsibility for PR and digital marketing, plus pro sales. Jonathan Hilborn, who has been in sports marketing, will serve as product and sales coordinator.
All three officials will report to Hagenbusch, a former executive of Amer Sports who joined BD Europe in Switzerland at the start of 2014 as marketing director. At the beginning of 2016 he took on strategic account management.