"With the new WFSGI strategic plan and the signing of the new IOC supplier agreement marking a career-high, it’s the perfect moment for me to embrace the next phase of my career", says Robbert de Kock. On Nov. 1, 2023, the Dutch native will step down as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) after a 16-year tenure. "I wish to thank the WFSGI Board for the opportunities to continuously develop the organisation, the members for their trust and my team for their loyal support and knowledge."
Developing a good team has always been important to de Kock as CEO, so it's hardly surprising that he will pass the baton to a leader from within his own ranks: Emma (Mason) Zwiebler is appointed interim CEO by the WFSGI board. Zwiebler, who is Scottish, joined WFSGI five years ago and has served as vice president of strategic and external affairs since 2019. Zwiebler also serves as a trustee for the NGO Switch the Play Foundation. The former badminton player was previously a sports lawyer at Squire Patton Boggs and held various positions in sports organizations such as British Showjumping, British Triathlon, Runmates and Chelsea Football Club.
De Kock, himself a former badminton player and coach as well as president of Swiss Badminton, a board member of Badminton Europe and a council member of the World Badminton Federation, will work closely with Zwiebler in the coming months. To ensure a smooth leadership transition, he will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the WFSGI Board and leadership team until June 2024.
"Robbert has transformed WFSGI and made it future-proof. Without his vision, ideas and tireless commitment to the global sports community, WFSGI would not be where it is today," says Tobias Gröber, Head of ISPO Group and member of the Board of the WFSGI. "We deeply respect his decision and wish him all the best for the future. He will always be welcome on our ISPO platforms. And of course we wish Emma all the best for her new job. She can always be sure of our support."
Robbert de Kock increased both WFSGI's membership and revenue streams, bringing the global sporting goods industry together with the world's leading sport and health organizations. Among the successes of his tenure were a wide range of transformative work including the WFSGI Pledge for the FIFA quality program and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the World Health Organization (WHO), to improve global health through increased physical activity and sports participation. In 2016, de Kock was instrumental in the establishment of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) uniform support program and the recent signing of a supplier agreement with the IOC.
Andy Rubin, Chairman of the Board of WFSGI, says, "Thanks to Robbert's dedication and commitment, WFSGI represents the industry at the highest levels of government, sport and health. As we bid farewell to Robbert, we are now embarking on the next chapter in our evolution with Emma as interim CEO. With her expertise and passion, she is well-placed to lead our well-qualified and experienced team. Together they will guide the WFSGI through our next phase of growth and our mission to reduce our impact on the planet, inspire more people to live active lifestyles and promote free and fair trade."