With only four years under its belt and a first-time exhibitor at the 2005 Health & Fitness Business trade show, elliptical specialist Octane Fitness is jumping full bore into international waters, hiring Leo Schreuders to head up its new international division based in Europe.Â Â
As the managing director, Schreuders will handle sales, operations and service for the company in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. A native of The Netherlands, he is fluent in English, Dutch and German, and will be based in Rotterdam.
Octane founders Dennis Lee and Tim Porth worked with Schreuders at Life Fitness, where they had both been executives for a number of years before leaving and eventually founding Octane. Schreuders was most recently sales and marketing director of the Atlantic Export region for Life Fitness, a Brunswick company (NYSE: BC). In nine years, Schreuders set up exclusive distribution channels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, reportedly growing sales tenfold for Life Fitness during that time.
Lee, president of Octane Fitness, told SNEWSÂ® that international business for the company has been fairly limited up to now, with some sales in Australia, New Zealand, France and the UK.
"It's always been a goal to get some penetration internationally. The opportunity came along with Leo, and it seemed like a great way to do it. The timing of his availability was good for us," said Lee, who with Porth first had a product prototype to show in 2003, personally driving it across the country to show HFB attendees. "Our focused approach on elliptical has been a good strategy for us in the United States, and we believe it's going to hold true in international markets as well."
The new international arm will focus on the home and club business in each of the appropriate markets. Lee said, "From market to market it's very different, so it's going to really depend on which country in which market we're talking about."
Schreuders emailed SNEWSÂ® from his office in The Netherlands, telling us he is presently formulating his strategy for Octane and plans to start close to home in Holland, with the United Kingdom as an additional focus.
Of his new position, he said, "I have worked with the Octane team in the past and we had great results. To be the managing director with a growing company was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Fitness is a growing business and so are ellipticals. It will be a challenge, but I believe we have the right product and team."
Schreuders can be reached at the Octane Fitness International office: Rivium Westlaan 7, 2909 LD Capelle a/d IJssel; or by phone, +31-10 2662412, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.