Amer Sports Corporation (“Amer Sports”) today announced a number of executive leadership changes. Mr. Heikki Takala has decided to resign from his role as President and CEO and will move into a role as a special advisor to the Board of Directors for Amer Sports. Mr. Jie Zheng (James), as the Board Executive Director, has assumed Mr. Takala’s responsibilities, supported by the appointment of Mr. Michael Hauge Sorensen as Chief Operating Officer, a newly created role at Amer Sports. The appointments come as Amer Sports enters its next phase of growth.
James has long-standing expertise in the sporting goods industry and brings more than twenty-five years of experience to lead the future development of Amer Sports. He joined Amer’s controlling shareholder, ANTA Sports Products Limited (“ANTA Sports”), in 2008 where he currently serves as Executive Director and Group President, a role he will continue to perform. He has been a board member of Amer Sports’ holding company since early 2019.
Mr. Michael Hauge Sorensen, with twenty-five years of experience in the global apparel and footwear industry, has served as an advisor to the board since early 2019. He has extensive experience in brand management, business development, omni-channel, and value chain management.
James, Michael and CFO Mr. Jussi Siitonen will form the Executive Committee of the Company, and will be working closely with the executive team to develop the business, empowering the brands to accelerate growth and adapt to the changing demands of the global market. Key growth initiatives will focus on product development, direct to consumer (DTC) oriented channel operation and digitalization to fully unleash Amer Sports’ potential and bring the company to the next level as a leading global premium sporting goods company.
Amer Sports’ current CEO, Mr. Heikki Takala, has resigned but will continue to support Amer Sports as a special advisor to the board. During the past ten years, Heikki oversaw a period of steady growth across the group and developed the business and brands into recognized players on the global stage, which allows Amer Sports to be ready to accelerate into its next phase of growth.
James said, “The changes we have announced today are focused on accelerating the growth of Amer Sports’ business and brands. The company has come out of the period of COVID-19 uncertainty and is today in a solid position from which to embark on the exciting next phase of growth.” He continued, “Heikki leaves his role as CEO with our great thanks for his leadership over the past ten years and we are delighted that he will be continuing his involvement with the group as a special advisor.”
Heikki said,” My ten years at Amer Sports have been great. I have worked with brilliant people across the group and we can be extremely proud that we have built a significant global sporting brands group. Though I have decided to resign from my role as the CEO, I continue giving the group my full support as a special advisor and look forward to playing my part in helping contribute to the company’s next phase of growth under James’ stewardship.”
Amer Sports is owned by an investor consortium including ANTA Sports, FountainVest Partners, Anamered Investments Inc. and Tencent Holdings Limited. A spokesperson for the consortium said, “The appointments announced today represent an important next step in the acceleration of our existing growth strategy for Amer Sports and underscore the commitment of the shareholder consortium to helping unlock Amer’s tremendous value and growth potential.”
Contact: Tea Lindfors
Amer Sports Communications
Tel. +358 40 529 0409
About ANTA Sports
The ANTA brand was established in 1991, while ANTA Sports Products Limited (2020.HK), a leading sportswear company in China, was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in 2007. For many years, ANTA Sports has been principally engaged in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of ANTA sportswear series to provide the mass market in China with professional sporting products including footwear, apparel and accessories. In recent years, ANTA Sports has accelerated its strategy of “Single-Focus, Multi-Brand, and Omni-Channel” to deepen its footprint in the sportswear market in China. ANTA Sports aims to unlock the potential of both the mass and high-end sportswear markets in China by embracing an all-round brand portfolio including ANTA, FILA, DESCENTE, SPRANDI, KINGKOW and KOLON SPORT, and by seizing new opportunities arising in various important retail channels.
FountainVest Partners is one of the most established independent private equity firms in Asia. The firm focuses on long-term investments in industry leaders, partnering closely with management teams to accelerate growth and create value in various areas including strategy, operations, finance, and capital markets. FountainVest has completed a number of successful landmark investments globally. Sectors of focus include consumer, media & technology, healthcare, industrials, and financial or business services. FountainVest manages capital on behalf of world leading public pensions, sovereign wealth funds, and other institutional investors.
About Anamered Investments Inc.
Anamered Investments Inc. (“Anamered Investments.”) is an investment vehicle owned by Mr. Chip Wilson, who is a pioneer in vertical retailing and technical apparel. As the founder of lululemon athletica inc., Mr. Wilson is an expert in designing technical fabrications and bringing technical apparel to global markets. Mr. Wilson retains a significant interest in lululemon athletica inc., as well as a well-diversified portfolio of investments in private equity, private companies, public securities, and real estate. Each of the private businesses Mr. Wilson has invested in are nurtured and supported by long-term capital and are held to a high standard of performance, governance, financial return and accountability.
Tencent uses technology to enrich the lives of Internet users. Tencent’s communication and social platforms, Weixin and QQ, connect users with each other and with digital content and services, both online and offline, making their lives more convenient. Tencent’s targeted advertising platform helps advertisers reach out to hundreds of millions of consumers in China. Tencent’s FinTech and business services support our partners’ business growth and assist their digital upgrade. Tencent invests heavily in talent and technological innovation, actively promoting the development of the Internet industry. Tencent was founded in Shenzhen, China, in 1998. Shares of Tencent (0700.HK) are listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
About Amer Sports
Amer Sports is a sporting goods company with internationally-recognized brands including Salomon, Arc’teryx, Peak Performance, Atomic, Suunto, Wilson and Precor. Its technically advanced sports equipment, footwear, apparel and accessories aim to improve performance and increase the enjoyment of sports and outdoor activities. Amer Sports’ business is balanced by its broad portfolio of sports and products and a presence in all major markets.