ISPO Munich 2019/02/04/2019

Mark Held Is the New President of the European Outdoor Group

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Major personnel changes at the top of the European Outdoor Group: After Arne Strate got appointed as new Secretary General in January 2019, the association of the largest European outdoor companies announced a new president today. But he's an old acquaintance: Mark Held, previously Secretary General, succeeds John Jansen. He will hand over the position after two terms of office in accordance with the articles of association. "Mark is the best choice," says Jansen.

Mark Held (2nd from right) becomes new President of the EOG
Four men, one goal: ISPO Group Director Tobias Gröber, outgoing EOG President John Jansen, his successor Mark Held and the new Secretary General of the European Outdoor Group Arne Strate (from left) want to bring the outdoor industry forward.

The EOG press conference on the kick-off day at ISPO Munich 2019 started witty: Tobias Gröber, ISPO Group Director and thus host of the EOG, as well as John Jansen, long-time EOG President, sat on the top of the podium in the exhibition halls. Next to him was Arne Strate, who was Head of Marketing until the turn of the year and now sat on stage for the first time as General Secretary. And on the side, with the microphone in one hand and notes in the other, Strate's predecessor, Mark Held, stood and introduced himself like this: "You may remember me. I'm the presenter here now."

Don't miss the annual event for the digitalization of the sports business! The ISPO Digitize Summit 2020 will take place in Munich on June 30, 2020.

Fine British understatement, as it turned out a little later. But for now John Jansen once again took over the role of the conférenciers. Since 2015, he has been President of the EOG. In all those years the Head of Keen Emea had worked closely and successfully with Held: "And now there he is, Mark, the older gentleman. He wants to work less. More work-life balance, things like that. He's already left his position."

EOG President John Jansen Retires After 4 Years

Held, 2003 Founding member of EOG and turned 60 last year, smiled as Jansen took a breath to announce the news of the day: "But: He will be my successor as president. I've been doing this for four years now. The regulations prescribes that there must be a change after two terms of office. We on the board were wondering, who should it be? The answer convinced everyone: Mark was the founder of EOG, he built everything up, achieved a lot, successfully designed new projects. Mark is the best choice. We're superhappy."

Mark Held Becomes First Paid EOG President

And so is Held. Unlike his predecessors, he is the first president in office who does not hold the post on the side. Jansen revealed, "It's a paid job. He's completely at our disposal three days a week." Jansen spoke of a "big change" for the EOG: "We think the balance between Mark's background and experience and Arne's new talents and skills is the best mix for us".

"Arne Strate Is the Ideal Man for the Job"

Because Arne Strate will also master the leap from head of marketing to secretary general for Jansen it is clear: "Arne has done a fantastic job in marketing. When we were looking for a successor for Mark, we soon realized: Arne is the ideal man for the job. And now we prepare him for the new job, he is getting every support."

All "good news", said Jansen. Especially since he was able to announce further personal details in his last press conference as EOG President. It was decided by the "Annual Assembly", the annual meeting of the EOG Board, on the evening before the ISPO Munich 2019 kick-off that the EOG Board will grow from eight to twelve members. These are the five new faces:

The 5 New Members of the EOG Board

  • Anne Schott Outdoor Sports Valley
  • Matthias Zaggl - W.L. Gore & Associates
  • Ryan Gellert - Patagonia
  • Michel Gogniat - Ternua
  • Oliver Pabst - Mammut Sports Group

Martin Axelhed, Richard Leedham and Stefan Merkt are no longer members of the Board as scheduled.

John Jansen himself, although no longer President, remains on the Board as a member: "We are a very stable organization. We are well positioned for the coming years. I am very confident," said the outgoing president. His successor gave him the greatest possible praise: "John was always there for us, he always knew, he kept pushing us," said Mark Held. "A big thank you to John."

Arne Strate Focuses on Sustainability at the EOG

In view of the handing over of the baton in the Presidium, Arne Strate was accommodating in his first public appearance as EOG Secretary General. Still Strate, who had switched to EOG in 2016 after nine years at Volcom, had no less important topics in the backhand. Almost all of them were concerned with sustainability and environmental protection, which are essential tasks for outdoor companies. A brief outline:

  • The EOG Sustainability Charter has now been signed by over 75 percent of the EOG members. The Scandinavian Outdoor Group already has 100 percent. "We are very optimistic that we will reach 100 percent overall in the entire EOG by the end of the year. It's our manifesto," said Strate. "It is very important for us to be at the forefront of sustainability.
  • The Cross Industry Agreement (CIA): "We are well on the way to making progress with further investigations to reduce the proportion of microfibers," says State.
  • The DEMOTE Project with the aim of recycling polyester. "Still, 90 percent of polyester is not recycled, but incinerated. Here arises a great task."
  • RMB Single Use Plastics: "We need to look closely at the problem of plastic waste and find good solutions," said Strate, announcing that a roadmap will be drawn up by the end of 2019 to reduce plastic content. EOG has now hired a full-time manager in Scott Nelson specifically for this area."

Equally sustainable is the partnership between the EOG and Messe München. ISPO Group Director Tobias Gröber talked briefly about this partnership one day before the press conference of the first OutDoor by ISPO in summer: "Exactly one year ago, we presented our concept here in the EOG pitch. And got an overwhelming majority for it. The last twelve months have been very challenging," said Gröber.

ISPO Director Tobias Gröber: "We Want to Be the Ones in Front"

The ISPO Group Director describes the advantages that the outdoor industry will meet twice a year in Munich: "Many have asked themselves: Why should we put all eggs in one basket? The answer is: The more you do together, the better it gets. We don't have to take a break this summer, we're in full swing now. 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We want to be the ones in front."

And then they stood there, in front and next to each other, shaking hands: Tobias Gröber, John Jansen, Mark Held and Arne State. Four men, one goal: sustainable success in outdoor business.