One of Germany’s leading specialty sports retailers (Sport Scheck in Munich) is losing its managing director, Rainer Angstl, who at age 39 has been with the company for 24 years. He has requested the board of directors to set him free from his continuing contract. As of August 1, Juergen Ahrens, purchasing director for Otto, the parent company of Sport Scheck, will take over the managing position. Angstl said in a letter in German that went to a host of vendors, acquaintances, and businesses that he is not in complete agreement with the shift in the company’s direction to include a stronger emphasis on lifestyle product. “The new direction of the company runs counter to my well-known personal passion for core sports,” Angstl wrote. He is, according to German sources, taking a “time out” from the sporting goods business. SNEWS® View: Angstl began with the family store as a teen-age apprentice and basically grew up with the Scheck business. No wonder he may be a little burnt out or, as we hear he’s been saying, that it’s just not fun anymore. Colleagues in the business say this is exactly the right step if he can’t support in his heart the wishes of the board or its new direction. When SNEWS® visited Scheck in Munich in February, one peek in the store and perusal of its assortment and layout made very clear what the intent was — visitors were greeted by surf and skateboard type lifestyle wear and thumping trendy music. Most of the core sports, outdoor product, and fitness gear was up at least one flight. Even the catalog’s current cover showed lifestyle wear that looked like street fashion and not sportswear. If he can’t convince the powers-that-be at Scheck that they should stick to sports, then it’s time to close a chapter in his life. We are sure he will be back in the sporting goods business, refreshed, recharged and ready-to-go.