As previously reported in SGI Europe, Johan Eliasch is stepping down as CEO of the Head group, effective immediately, in connection with his election on June 4 as the new president of the International Ski Federation (FIS). As the majority shareholder of the Austrian-based company, which he took over in 1995 out of his passion for skiing, he will remain as its chairman, but will retire from all day-to-day operations.
Asked about his successor as Head’s CEO, the 59-year-old Swedish executive told us that there will be none. Head will be run by the balance of its “exceptionally strong” executive board, without any changes. It is made up of three veterans of the group: Otmar Barbian, Klaus Hotter and Gerald Skrobanek. Declining to provide any figures about Head’s recent financial performance, he said there will be no chief financial officer as part of the team.
Hotter has been the longest-serving executive at Head, which he joined in 1986 to run its winter sports division, after managing the distribution of Blizzard for five years. He was appointed joint managing director of Head Sport in 2002, and he is still in charge of snow sports.
Barbian took responsibility for international sales & marketing at Head’s racquet sports division in 2008. Four years later, he assumed full responsibility for the division and joined the group’s executive management team.
Skrobanek joined Head in 2000, running the group’s IT and other operations for five years until he became vice president of the group’s division, whose portfolio of water sports brands was subsequently enlarged beyond Mares. In addition to these responsibilities, Skrobanek became the group’s chief operating officer at the end of 2017 – a position that he will continue to hold.
Actually, Eliasch has managed to run Head at a distance for many years. Based in London, he has been simultaneously acting as chairman of Equity Partners, Aman Resorts and London Films, among numerous other positions. He has been non-executive chairman of Investcorp Europe and a board member at many other bodies including the Foundation for Reneable Energy and the Environment, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Centre for Social Justice and the British Olympic Association. Eliasch has been the first president of the Global Strategy Forum. He has been chairing lately the food, energy and water security program of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.