Meet James De Cabooter, Country Manager of Central European markets at Peak Performance. Learn about James’ 18-year-long ride with Peak Performance, how he turns challenges into opportunities, and leads a consumer-centric mindset.
Back in 2004, James De Cabooter joined the fashion group IC Companys. Fresh out of school, he started as an intern in the local marketing department in Belgium.
“I had just graduated and wanted to get an awesome internship. I knew IC Companys had this cool brand called Peak Performance in its portfolio. Quickly after my internship, I got recruited into the Peak Performance Customer Service team and have been enjoying the ride ever since,” says James.
By way of customer service and sales, James has grown into his current role as Country Manager for Central Europe (Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain) at Peak Performance.
Navigating challenges, turning them into opportunities
Before Peak Performance was acquired by Amer Sports in 2018, James sat in the Belgium office along with several colleagues. After a bigger transformation at IC Companys already in 2012, James was working independently.
“In a way, it was a lot. Colleagues were moving to other companies, some left. I could have also left and found a job elsewhere. But I chose to stay, because I saw the journey and the opportunities for myself and the brand. I believed Peak Performance was a sleeping giant and that this was the beginning of something new and exciting.”
Amidst the change, James adopted a growth mindset to see the opportunities he could directly impact. After Peak Performance had joined Amer Sports, James did an impressive job of setting up and handling operations in the Belgian and other export markets.
“Peak Performance trusted me to manage my own market. I used my background in customer service and sales to help set up the sales systems integration. I was in touch with our wholesale customers, easing some of their concerns, and motivating those who were struggling with some of the hiccups. I did my best to inspire everyone to see a brighter future.”
James continues to resort to his problem-solving approach and positive attitude.
“Of course, even today, we sometimes experience challenges. Things are never perfect. I have learnt to always ask: How might we improve?”
Maintaining and building connections with colleagues from afar
James works independently from his own office in Belgium. No stranger to a remote set-up, he speaks about the importance of being proactive in building and maintaining relationships with his colleagues who are spread across different locations.
“I have taught myself to proactively reach out and connect with colleagues. Being actively present in meetings, spontaneously calling colleagues, reacting, and following what they post on social media are a few ways to put yourself out there and build connections. You can’t sit around and wait, hoping others will call you.”
James highlights the importance of tenacity when building relationships. This has served him well. Today he’s well connected within the brand and embodies the Peak Performance values of “winning spirit” and “togetherhood”.
Fans are the heart of Peak Performance
As he explains how customers are at the heart of everything, James’ brand love shines through.
“Just like me, our consumer is a huge fan of the brand, and they seek for the brand wherever they can find it.”
Even though James calls himself a “B2B guy”, he is guided by consumer-centricity and highlights the role of omnichannel in business-to-business sales.
“In my role, I look for long-term win-wins with our B2B customers, with the end consumer in mind. To create and maintain long-lasting relationships with our wholesale partners, we need to consider what’s profitable for us, profitable for them—and best for the consumer.”
James is excited about the growth opportunity at Peak Performance and all strong Amer Sports brands, and the direct-to-consumer focus.
“I anticipate our expansion to continue. Wholesale partnerships will continue to be important, and we need to ensure our quality products are showcased in the right channels.”
“Everything we do is about the love for Peak Performance,” James concludes.
James De Cabooter
Current role: Country Manager, Sales Central Europe at Peak Performance
Previous experience: “Peak Performance is my first experience. In April 2004, I started an internship at the local marketing department. Quickly after, I got recruited on the Peak Performance Customer Service team and have been enjoying this exciting ride ever since.”
Hobbies and interests: “Freeskiing is my favorite sport in the mountains, but I don’t claim to be good at it. I also became an avid padel fan after my soccer career. I also love to support my wife and kids when they’re playing padel, soccer, or basketball. We also love to travel, searching for street art pieces from the French artist @invaderwashere. And music, lots of music, anywhere, anytime.”
Fun fact: “I only learned how to ski after already being at Peak Performance for several years. My first ski tracks and slopes were in fact in our brand home base in Åre, Sweden.”