It was Asia’s turn to take on the chairmanship of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industries (WFSGI) for the next three years, after Europe and the Americas. Partly in view of the Olympic Games that will be held in Tokyo this year and in Beijing two years later, its general assembly elected on Jan. 29 a new board of directors headed up for the first time by co-chairmen – Motoi Oyama-san and James Zheng – who represent Asics from Japan and Anta Sports Products from China, respectively.
Oyama, who already served as president of the WFSGI between 2011 and 2014, ahead of Frank Dassler from Adidas, has been the chairman and chief executive of Asics since 2008. He had previously run the U.S. and European operations of Asics. Zheng, who joined the WFSGI’s board of directors in 2014, is the executive director and president of Anta, the biggest sporting goods company in China, which he joined in 2008. His election can be seen as a recognition of Anta’s strong international relevance following its acquisition of Amer Sports last year, and the fact that China has become the second-largest sporting goods market in the world.
In announcing the new set-up, the WFSGI pointed out that it will give support to help maximize synergies between the sporting goods industry and the International Olympic Commission. The application of the IOC’s Rule 50 to sponsorship contracts is still a sticky issue. The WFSGI noted that 77 National Olympic Committees and around 600 athletes will receive competition uniforms free of charge from 12 WFSGI member companies this year because they cannot use products that comply with Rule 50. It is the third edition of this solidarity program.
Oyama-san and Zheng are succeeding Sean O’Hollaren, senior vice president of government and public affairs at Nike, who will retain a seat on the board as immediate past chair and representative for the Americas. A former president of WFSGI from the Americas, John Larsen of New Balance, was elected honorary president of WFSGI at the meeting, which was held concurrently with the Ispo Munich show.
Tom Cove, president and chief executive of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) of the U.S., and Andy Rubin, chairman of Pentland Brands, remain vice chairmen for the Americas and Europe-Africa, respectively. Robbert de Kock remains president and CEO of the WFSGI.
The other members of the new board are Dave Wheeler, executive vice president of value chain and chief supply chain officer at New Balance; Bob Margevicius, executive vice president at Specialized Bicycle Components; Gumercindo Neto, partner and CEO at RG3 Consulting; Nouman Idris, CEO of both Capital Sports and Muta Industries; Shuichi Koseki, president of Descente; Johan Adamsson, global director of sports marketing and licensing at Puma; ManuelPauser, head of global government affairs at Adidas Group; Didier Morelle, head of the E-Bikes Industrial division at Decathlon; and Colin Li, executive director of Li-Ning Sporting Goods.
Most of the members were re-elected to the board. Descente and Li Ning were represented by other executives before. A former member, Björn Gulden, CEO of Puma, has left the board.
Meanwhile, WFSGI reports “very positive” financial results for the past 12 years and ascribes one-third of its income to sources other than membership dues, such as partnerships with Compliance and Risk, Gominga and Convey as well as the World Manufacturers Forum and the World Cycling Forum. The independent, non-profit association consists of sports and athleisure brands, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, national and regional federations, industry and trade associations and all manner of sporting goods businesses.
WFSGI says it is developing a new strategy for the next three years that focuses more on the future challenges such as partnerships with international sport organizations, sustainability, free trade, the promotion of physical activity, compliance with labelling requirements and innovation, among other topic