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Posted by: Sportslink on 05/19/2017

WFSGI president checks out Gold Coast

WFSGI president checks out Gold Coast

Making his first visit to the Gold Coast this week, Robbert de Kock was wearing two hats.

One representing the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry and the other as president of Swiss Badminton and director of Badminton Europe.

Here for a week on the gloriously sunny coast and staying in a suite with a view of Surfers Paradise beach, de Kock was delighted with the Aussie environment and looked forward to getting sand between his toes, reports Editor Maggie Coleman.

Just how much sand will depend on his timetable including meetings and events for both roles.

One such get-together is with Shannon Walker, executive director of the Australian Sporting Goods Association, which is a member of the WFSGI.

Then later in the week, de Kock says, “I am focussing on badminton, the Sudirman Cup which is world team championships, and the badminton general assembly.

President and chief executive of Bern, Switzerland-based WSFGI, de Kock is watching the sports world change rapidly and sums up his view by saying "It's exciting and somewhat scary but as always the essential thing is to know your consumer."

The federation has several roles in the global industry, including lobbying governments and major bodies like the IOC, and it's 16 member bodies which include Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Korea as well as the USA Brazil and the European federation.

Other responsibilities include “acting as gatekeepers on issues” and promoting the adherence to international trade rules and regulations, focussing on anti-dumping and its implications, plus organising forums for major categories in the industry such as cycling, manufacturers and retailers.

He says, “ It is important that we are seen as a friend of the global industry and its members, not as an enemy – all national federations have values and frameworks of their own which we understand and work with. ASGA represents the major brands in Australia.”

WFSGI has a team of 17 including some interns and a annual budget of 2.5 million Swiss francs of which around 65 percent comes from members, to create services for members, sectorial services for various categories and to report on and promote activities and achievements, an area of responsibility which he feels needs strengthening.

Says de Kock,“In our business people is services and vice versa – it’s chicken and egg but our business model is a good one.”

He brings many years of experience to his role – starting his life in sports retail while a student of economics and marketing in his native The Netherlands, playing professional badminton at elite level for three years, then joining the International Olympic Committee with responsibility for marketing and multi-media rights.

After four years there, de Kock joined global sports retail group Intersport (growing fast in Australia now with more than 60 doors).

“I started in product development, sourcing and product marketing and the legal department and ended my 14 years there as VP of licensing, global development and new business.

Then, says de Kock, I joined the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries in 2007 where, with a recent reshuffle of roles and titles, I am now president and chief executive, with the chairman taking a three year term.

Chairman is currently Sean O'Hollaren Senior Vice President Government & Public Affairs for Nike Inc., elected during the World Sports Forum held in February in conjunction with the Ispo Munich trade show.

• The   February event examined the future of sports retailing and de Kock ‘s take on presentations and conclusions will be reported here soon – however, he reports that “ it is a very exciting time” for all involved in the sports industry.