BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—Hugh Walton and Shelley Gedak are sharing management responsibilities at Veltec Sports following the return of former CEO Manfred Krikke Jr. to its Dutch parent company and the departure of other senior managers.
Krikke is moving back to the Netherlands to work with his father and brother in the family company. He has spent the past two years transitioning its U.S. arm from an exclusive distribution company to a distributor of wholly owned brands.
“When I started two years ago, the business was not in a good position—it was not performing the way it needed to perform. We decided we as a business wanted to be less dependent on other brands. We wanted to change to basically create really exciting brands of our own,” Krikke said.
Veltec Sports began that process when it purchased Shebeest in late 2005. It acquired the North American license for Descente cycling apparel in 2008. It has been slowly acquiring pieces of Lake Cycling, and recently assumed the last outstanding piece of that business. Krikke said 90 percent of the company’s revenue now comes from its own brands. It also distributes Enervit, Prologo saddles and Vredestein tires.
“It was a difficult transition to make; it really required making changes to get our performance where we wanted it to be and to take it in the strategic direction we wanted it to go. Right now, we’re at the final strokes of aligning our organization with those goals. We’ve made some changes to our management team to achieve that,” Krikke said.
Josh Greenberg, Lake Cycling’s former managing director, has left Lake to join Techline Rep Group in Texas. He will assist the transition through April 15 then move to Austin where he will bring his sales and management expertise to the four-person sales agency. “I’m pursuing my passion for selling,” said Greenberg, who started in the industry as a sales rep and spent nine years at Veltec Sports before assuming management of Lake a year ago.
Chris Bogue, former vice president of sales for Veltec Sports, has also left the company.
Veltec has consolidated sales and marketing responsibilities for all its brands, including Lake, under Hugh Walton. Walton will retain product development responsibilities for Descente and Shebeest and management of the apparel merchandising team in Boulder, Colorado. Lake footwear development remains in Chicago.
Walton shares U.S. management responsibilities with Shelley Gedak, vice president of finance, who oversees finance and operations at Veltec’s warehouse in Carson City, Nevada. Both now report to Manfred Krikke Sr., Veltec Sports’ owner, who is based in the Netherlands.
“I have quite a bit of history working directly with sales reps and customers. I’m taking on more responsibility and I’m really comfortable with it and where we’re at,” said Walton, who came over from Descente when Veltec purchased its assets and remained on board to run the softgoods side of the business.
Walton said the past two years haven’t been easy. Veltec’s strategy to become a product oriented brand company instead of a distributor necessitated changes. Since losing U.S. distribution of Sidi when it established its own subsidiary last fall, Veltec’s revenue has declined. And as a result of the recession everyone in the industry is working twice as hard, he said.
But Walton said Veltec’s business has improved dramatically over the past year and he feels strongly about how it is positioned. “The new organization is leaner and meaner and designed to respond more quickly to market conditions and what dealers need,” said Walton.