Peter Ottervanger, a Dutch expert in retailing, is leaving as vice president and general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Sole Technology, parent company of Etnies and other skate and snowboard brands, to take on a similar role at Icebreaker, the fast-growing brand of merino wool garments from New Zealand.
Effective Oct. 1, he will take the place of Dion Taylor, the former chief executive of Snow + Rock who left last April after only a few months in the job, citing health and family reasons. He will be based at Icebreaker's European office at Starnberg, in the Lake District near Munich, where he plans to settle with his family.
Ottervanger, who is now in his mid-50s, joined Sole Technology's European office in Amsterdam in May 2011. His responsibilities there have included the management of European direct markets, distributors and agents as well as overall responsibility for the back-office.
At Sole Technology, Ottervanger's position will be split between Nick Baker, who is being promoted to European sales director, and Grant Gleghorn, who will take care of finance, human resources and other back-office operations. Baker is currently the U.K. country manager of Sole Technology, and his successor will be announced soon. Gleghorn is the European finance manager.
Like with Taylor, the appointment of Ottervanger is widely expected to help Icebreaker to pursue an omni-channel distribution policy in Europe, on the model of its flourishing business in North America. Prior to Sole Technology, Ottervanger worked for Philip Morris, Audi and Mexx and acted as European manager in charge retail for O'Neill and Dockers, the sub-brand of Levi's Strauss. After leaving O'Neill, where he was coordinating the operations of 30 stores, he founded a retail consultancy, Retail Motif, that worked for Dickies and other brands.