Rossignol names CEO successor in executive transition
A new era is about to start at French mountain sport equipment specialist Rossignol, as Bruno Cercley is set to step down from the CEO role.
Cercley has been at the helm of Rossignol, based in Saint-Jean-de-Moirans, since 2008, when the company was bought back from the Quiksilver group. From Q1 2021, he will no longer be running day-to-day operations, while still remaining in charge as group president and board member.
To replace Cercley, the Rossignol board has picked Vincent Wauters, an expert in the outdoor equipment sector and in supply chain management. Wauters, until June the CEO of footwear brand Hunter - renowned for its wellington boots - will join the Rossignol group, owned by Norwegian investment fund Altor, in December.
Rossignol has indicated that a transition period will ensue, and that Wauters will take full charge by next March. His mission is “to consolidate [Rossignol’s] core business while continuing to exploit the huge potential afforded by apparel and e-commerce,” as the group stated in a press release.
Wauters is extremely familiar with the outdoor sport market. Before Hunter, which he joined in 2016, he worked at Finnish group Amer Sports, owner among others of Salomon, Atomic and Arc'Teryx. Wauters, a Belgian, was a member of the Amer Group’s board, having also been vice-president in charge of IT and the supply chain, and CEO of Canadian outdoor equipment brand Arc'Teryx, where he notably gave a strong impulse to the apparel range, something which persuaded Rossignol to hire him.
“It has been a privilege to work with Bruno over the last seven years,” said Hugo Maurstad, a representative of Altor and the chairman of Rossignol’s board. “[Cercley] has led a major transformation of the group and is handing over a strong and successful company to Vincent. The heritage of the Rossignol brands and organization is in good hands with Vincent, who with his background in global, iconic apparel and winter sport brands and his expertise across marketing, e-commerce and operations, brings new capabilities that are important for stepping up the pace of growth, starting from our solid platform,” added Maurstad.
The Rossignol group is a recognised player in the sport equipment market, and not just in skiing, the group’s primary field. Under Cercley's aegis, Rossignol has greatly expanded its scope, also via externally driven growth, for example in the cycling market.
The group's brand portfolio currently includes Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange, Look, Felt and Time. In 2016, with Rossignol Apparel, the group began to explore the fashion landscape, opening an office in Milan and establishing itself as a premium brand, with attractive stores in several European capitals. A global business worth approximately €370 million.
An achievement for Cercley, who joined Rossignol in 2002, only to leave in 2005 when it was acquired by Quiksilver. He returned when the group was bought back in 2008, and in 2009 he restructured it, before embarking on a strategic drive to recapture market share through product innovation.
“Looking at what we have accomplished over the last decade, I am very proud for having had the great privilege of leading the group’s staff in this incredible adventure,” said Cercley. “We have recovered our leading position on the ski market with Rossignol, doubled our ski boots market share, we have created a true, steadily growing, apparel business supported by a unique brand positioning, and we have become a major partner for mountain enthusiasts. I am truly grateful to the teams who have worked so hard with me to make this happen. Welcoming Vincent within the group (…) is a huge opportunity that we did not want to miss,” added Cercley.
At a time when the impact of the Covid-19 crisis is making itself felt on Rossignol’s prospects, Wauters, a manager whose career has spanned multiple continents, is expected to bring a new dimension to the French group.
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