Tomas Solin, a 52-year-old manager who raised the turnover of Salming Sports from 4 million Swedish kronor to about SEK 200 million (€18.9m-$21.1m) in the 12 years spent under his leadership, has become the new chief executive of Tenson, the Swedish brand of outdoor and snow sports apparel.
At Tenson, Solin replaces Johan Lövqvisk after ten years at its helm. Thomas Nord, who worked with Solin for 20 years in design and marketing, has been appointed creative director of the Swedish brand, based in Gothenburg. Solin resigned as managing director of Salming last August, and while he still serves as an adviser to the company, he is no longer a shareholder. His position at Salming has been taken over by Tomas Theil, whose previous roles included being a partner and the CEO of Grundèns, a Swedish brand of fishing apparel.
Both Solin and Nord have become minority shareholders in Tenson, which is still controlled by a Dutch equity investment fund, Nedvest Capital, that took over the brand from the former Unlimited Sports Group (USG) in 2016. Since then, Tenson's sales have declined from an annual level of around €20 million to around €17 million, largely because one of its major clients was Perry Sport, an outdoor retail chain that belonged to USG.
Tenson generates about one-third of its sales from the snow sports market, backed by major sponsorship deals in Austria, Slovenia and Sweden. Solin and Nord want it to continue to have a presence in this sector, while developing the outdoor segment and expanding its small footwear range with the introduction of new, innovative products. They will be presented at the Ispo Munich trade show early next year for a launch during the autumn/winter 2020/21 season. By that time, the brand and the whole apparel line should also have a refreshed look and a new message for the market.
Solin and Nord went through a similar process at Salming. Formerly with Arthur Andersen in London, Solin joined the Swedish Libro Group in 1999. As its business development manager, he helped to scale down its operations, which largely consisted of the distribution of various golf brands in Sweden, to concentrate on three areas including a license to develop the Salming brand in various segments of the sporting goods sector.
In 2007, after the sale of Salming's hockey business to its owner, Solin gradually built up the brand in other segments of the indoor sports market, starting with equipment and apparel for floorball and then moving into handball and squash. With Nord's help, Salming developed highly technical shoes for all these sports, and the brand now claims to be a global leader along with Asics in the higher end of the squash footwear market.
Since 2004, Salming is also a niche player in the trail running shoe market. More in The Outdoor Industry Compass.