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Let’s be honest: being elected for an important job always feels good. After all, an election is in a way a certain recognition of your work and you as a person; so yes, I’m proud and honored to have been elected the President of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry for the next three years (in addition to my job as the adidas Group’s General Counsel). I will be taking over from Motoi Oyama, CEO of the asics Group, who represented the Asian-Oceanian region.

This election comes with another very special and even more emotional touch:

with this assignment I will be following in my father’s footsteps, as he was the first ever German President of the WFSGI from 1986 to 1989. I remember very well just how much work, dedication and passion he put into resolving the sporting goods industry’s challenges; and I am determined to put just as much heart and soul into this role. I appreciate the challenges will be very different though, as the sporting good industry’s has since changed quite a bit and became an incredibly fast-moving sector.

Therefore, it will be very important for our industry to stay ahead of the game and to ensure further boost of trends and innovation.

Further boost trends and innovation

The future of manufacturing?

The future of manufacturing?

The integration of electronic devices in sporting goods and the linking of equipment with information and communication technology will, for example, further affect the future of the sport. I expect ‘Digital Sports’ to open up absolutely new possibilities and new business models. We will see a transformation from ‘product accompanying services’ to ‘service accompanying products’. It’s not all just about the products though – it’s also about topics like the ‘Future of manufacturing’ and the impli­cations this will have on business processes, people, environment and society. I would recommend that manufacturers and retailers work more closely together and to break fresh ground with new industry partners.

Free and Fair Trade

Another important aspect for the whole sporting goods industry is our interest in pursuing the concept of “free and fair trade”. To me it is kind of arbitrary that an industry, which per se promotes healthy and active lifestyle, has to pay the highest anti-dumping duties and tariffs compared to any  other..

Obviously, there are number of other challenges, which the WFSGI Board has clearly addressed in its strategic direction for the period of my term. The WFSGI is a global voice of everyone active in the sports industry – be it brands, retailers, suppliers or national and international federations. We are a recognized partner of international institutions, such as the IOC, WHO, UNESCO as well as governmental stakeholders.

I am convinced that in a globalized world this institution with its pursuit of industry-wide collaboration is more important than ever. I am really looking forward to representing WFSGI members on a global level supporting and promoting the sporting goods industry wherever I can together with the strong new Board and great WFSGI staff.