„I almost never wear business attire, except wen I have to attend the board meeting.“, told Rolf Schmid in an interview with ISPO.com at the start of December 2015. „Many oft he gentlemen choose to wear ties, so I have to wear a white shirt at the very least.“ But the business has its workings – and they don’t stop for the CEO of the Outdoor exhibitor Mammut.
Schmid, an old hand in his company (he was CEO since 1996) and in the sports business in general (he played a leading role in the founding of the European Outdoor Group), resigned in a mutual decision as the Conzzeta AG, which Mammut is part of, announces. „Rolf G. Schmid has helped establish Mammut as a strong and successful brand“, said Ernst Bärtschi, chairman of the Board of Directors of Conzzeta AG.
Mammut is still a strong brand, it can praise itself with good quality and trend-setting marketing campaigns. Just the success was missing in 2015, especially according to the standards of the stock market oriented Conzzeta AG. In the 2015 financial year, turnover of Mammut Sports Group (MSG) dropped to 235.3 million Swiss francs (215.9 million euro) down from 249.9 million francs (229.4 million euro) in the previous year. According to Conzzeta, MSG’s parent company, net sales on a comparable basis were down by 1.7 percent.
In this context it is probably significant that Conzzeta has a new CEO since January 2016, Michael Willome. The Swiss worked for the Group Auditing of the Novatic Consumer Health AG, a pharmaceutical company. It is a fact that the pharma-industry is completely different from the sports business, starting with the supply chain and ending with the profits. A world where more money can be made with quantities of products than it would be possible in sports.
Schmid himself hasn't spoken publicly about his parting from the company so far. One can probably assume that he didn’t take the process very well – understandable after 20 years at the top of the company. He was well known for his identification with the company and the whole outdoor industry, friends and acquaintances from the industry attribute him an impeccable reputation. Lastly he developed the strategy 2020 for Mammut and implemented it.
Conzzeta is now searching for a successor, Schmid will stay until a new CEO is found. Schmid plans to become a freelance consultant – effective May 2016 for Mammut and the Conzzeta AG for marketing strategy, but also for other companies.
The fact that Rolf Schmid and Mammut are separating, after so many years of a seemingly perfect work relationship, can be seen as a signal for the complete sports business: it is changing, drastically. Mammut isn’t the only traditional company which now has a holding company behind it that is driven by numbers to reach their economical goals. The business is getting rougher. And with these laws of the game even a CV like Rolf Schmid’s isn’t a job guarantee.