Active Brands, the Norway-based parent of Kari Traa, Johaug, Dæhlie Sportswear, Bula, Åsnes and Sweet Protection, appointed Christophe Merkel as the new CEO of the company, succeeding Espen Krogstad.

Merkel has spent the past decade leading Nike’s growth in countries such as Japan, Poland, and Turkey, and joins Active Brands from the position as vice president and general manager of Nike EMEA North. He brings a wide set of experiences to Active Brands, from managing a major company, leading operations on different international markets and cultures, and spearheading the digital transformation of a global sporting goods brand.

Active Brands has experienced strong growth since its establishment in 2010 across its sports apparel and equipment brands.

“I have been impressed with Active Brands’ successful development, and their ability to keep a steady course, even through challenging times. I am particularly looking forward to exploring new ways of building close relationships with the consumers through e-commerce and new technology, as well as accelerating our global markets, particularly in North America where we already have a very solid business,” said Christophe Merkel, Active Brands CEO.

His predecessor, Espen Krogstad, is stepping down after eight years in the role. “2021 is going to be a very good year for the company, and it felt like the right time to hand it over,” said Krogstad. “This transition has been in the works for some time, and I am very pleased to see Christophe as the new CEO. I am eager to see how he will apply his impressive and versatile experience to Active Brands.”

The focus in coming years is to further seize and capitalize on opportunities created by an increasingly digital consumer focus, as well as accelerate the international growth of its core brands. The main shareholder of Active Brands is the Nordic private equity investment company FSN Capital.

Photo courtesy Active Brands/Christophe Merkel