Inviting applications from suitable candidates, the European Outdoor Group (EOG) has formally started the recruitment process for a new secretary general to replace Mark Held, the British executive who has held the post since 2005. He already announced at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen in June that he had decided to step down after his successor is found, saying that he would assist in the transition. He plans to keep on working for the EOG at about 40 percent of his present time until the end of 2019, taking care of trade shows and other issues.

”This is a high profile international role and the successful candidate will be expected to operate comfortably in a senior business and political environment,” says the EOG. He or she will be “responsible for developing and delivering an effective strategy for addressing the key issues that are affecting the EOG membership and wider sector.”

Held, who is now 58 years old, is based in England's Lake District, but he has built up an international team of six people who are stationed in the U.K. as well as Switzerland and Germany. As a full-time employee of the EOG, the secretary general will lead the team. He or she may live in any country within the European Union, but should have access to a major airport and be prepared to travel.

Applications for the job will have to be sent to Held. The candidates will need to have a minimum of 10 years of experience of the broader outdoor sector, across as many functional roles as possible, and proven experience at the board level of organizations. Excellent communication, networking and negotiation skills are essential, says the EOG, along with the ability and desire to work collaboratively. “Keen political awareness and engagement are also vital aspects of the role,” with an aptitude for engaging with politicians, civil servants, non-governmental organizations, other trade associations and other interested parties.

Founded in 2003 by Held and Rolf Schmid, the former chief executive of Mammut, the EOG has more than 100 members including outdoor brands, ingredient brands, retailers and national associations. It has been very active in areas such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, environmental conservation, lobbying, outreach, market research and business standards. It is leading the industry in Europe in the promotion of participation of outdoor activities. It is a key shareholder of the OutDoor show and the organizer of the annual European Outdoor Summit (EOS).

The secretary general will have to be involved in all these areas. Reporting to the president of the EOG, who is John Jansen of Keen Footwear at the moment, the secretary general will influence the future direction of the EOG and the development of new activities.