The children’s bike scale-up woom bikes from Klosterneuburg has won the former Adidas boss Kasper Rørsted as chairman of the advisory board. The 61-year-old Dane is now to support the company, which is already established in around 30 countries and achieved sales of 100 million euros last year, in its further expansion course. woom bikes wants to open up new markets and position itself as the global market leader.
woom bikes: Bicycle scale-up increases sales to more than 100 million euros in 2022
Kasper Rørsted becomes “strategic sparring partner”
The advisory board of the scale-up is an advisory body in which the other shareholders of the company are represented in addition to the founders Marcus Ihlenfeld and Christian Bezdeka. The two founders withdrew from operational management around a year ago. Rørsted is now available to woom in his new role as “strategic sparring partner”. “With his experience, his format and his know-how, Kasper will support us in the next development steps,” says woom CEO Paul Fattinger.
In addition to his job as chairman of the advisory board at woom bikes, Kasper Rørsted is also a member of the supervisory board at Siemens and the Maersk shipping company, according to the Handelsblatt. On the other hand, he no longer aspires to a CEO position. In August 2022, Rørsted had to resign as CEO of sporting goods giant Adidas despite an ongoing contract. The Dane managed two large German corporations for more than 14 years: he was not only the head of Adidas, but also headed the consumer goods manufacturer Henkel from 2008 to 2016.
woom bikes: The success story of the children’s bike scale-up
woom bikes is constantly expanding
woom bikes is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. According to the company, the scale-up has achieved an average annual growth rate of around 50 percent over the past ten years. The special thing about the company’s children’s bikes is that they are tailored to the small target group in great detail and are popular with parents because of their lightness. The high resale value is particularly important, after all, children quickly outgrow the small premium bikes.
Rørsted is enthusiastic about his new position: “woom dreams big and wants to take his dreams out into the world. I want to make a contribution to repeating the momentum of the early years in new markets.” After entering the French market and setting up a dealer network with over 80 trading partners last year, woom opened its online shops in the Netherlands, Denmark and in 2023 Sweden. Also in focus: the further expansion of business in the USA.
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Adidas burdened by China business and image problems
woom bikes currently has a rather limited focus on the Chinese market. Rørsted sees a presence in this market as important, but really establishing oneself is a big challenge. Problems in the China business were one reason why Rørsted had to leave Adidas. The consumers were not understood well enough there, he said in an interview with the Handelsblatt shortly before his replacement. Further problems arose, so that the Adidas operating profit in 2022 fell by 66 percent compared to the previous year. Rørsted was accused of focusing too much on short-term margin optimization while neglecting innovation.
In addition, Adidas had an image problem. The company had successfully developed shoes with rapper Kanye West for years. However, the company had to part with the musician after he attracted negative attention with anti-Semitic statements. All of these were reasons for the Adidas supervisory board to try a new start with Björn Gulden as CEO.