Auburn, WA and Richmond, BC — Helly Hansen Group AS, the Oslo-based manufacturer of premium apparel and footwear for outdoor professionals, today announced a reorganization in its senior management ranks to support the company’s accelerated growth throughout North America. The 135-year-old company grew 31% in North America in 2011 and is anticipating 2012 will deliver another record year both in North America as well as for its global business.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan acquired the majority of Helly Hansen Group AS in July. The Teachers’ group identified North America as a primary focus for growth and investment in the coming years.
Gary Davis, previously general manger for Helly Hansen’s North American operations, was promoted to Vice President of Canadian Operations. Davis, who joined Helly Hansen in 2001, has been central to expanding the brand’s retail base and developing North America’s largest uniform program for outdoor professionals working at winter resorts and mountain guiding services. Today, more than 35,000 employees with more than 65 resorts wear Helly Hansen product in the field.
“The Helly Hansen brand is vibrant in North America thanks in large part to the work Gary and his team have accomplished in one of the world’s most competitive markets,” said Peter Sjölander, Helly Hansen CEO. “Success breeds opportunity. In order to progressively manage the accelerated growth, we’re investing in the U.S. and Canadian management teams to focus on each country’s unique business environments and provide support to our quickly growing number of key accounts and retail partners.”
Filip Francke, a senior-level general manager, marketing and sales executive, with extensive international experience has been named to the new position of Vice President of U.S. Operations. Francke relocated to the Seattle area this month and will be based out of Helly Hansen’s U.S. headquarters in Auburn, Wash., beginning mid-October.
“Helly Hansen’s current success is based on the brand’s distinct Scandinavian styling and proven performance in the world’s toughest environments,” Sjölander said. “Filip’s Scandinavian heritage and previous US experience perfectly align with the brand and its ambitions to become a leader in the global outdoor business.”
Francke most recently served as Managing Director Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg for Electrolux Home Products Corporation and previously managed European operations as vice president for one of that company’s major divisions. He has more than 20 years of international sales, marketing and logistics experience in Europe, North America and Asia.
Founded in Moss, Norway, in 1877, Helly Hansen continues to protect and enable professionals making their living on oceans and mountains around the world. Their apparel, developed through a blend of Scandinavian design and insights drawn from living in some of the harshest environments on earth, helps provide the confidence professionals need to step out into the elements and complete their jobs. The company invented the first supple, waterproof fabrics more than 130 years ago, created the first fleece fabrics in the 1960s and introduced the first technical baselayers made with LIFA® Stay Dry Technology in the 1970s. Today, Helly Hansen is the official uniform partner for more than 35 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations. The brand’s outerwear, baselayers, sportswear and footwear for winter, outdoor and water sports are sold in more than 40 countries. To learn more about Helly Hansen’s latest collections, visit www.hellyhansen.com