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Icebreaker Signals Increased Growth in Europe with the Promotion of Max Hofbauer to General Manager â€“ Europe
Wellington, New Zealand and Munich, Germany (1 November 2011) â€“ Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, has announced the new position of General Manager (GM) â€“ Europe and has appointed Max Hofbauer to the role, effective immediately. Hofbauer, who has been the company's Managing Director for Germany, Sweden and Norway since 2009, is now responsible for overseeing and expanding Icebreaker's business operations in Europe and representing Europe's interests and requirements within IcebreakerÂ´s global organization. In addition to his new responsibilities, Hofbauer will continue to lead Icebreaker's German business unit.
This new position signals Icebreaker's continued aggressive growth strategy in Europe, which is currently more than 40 percent of its global wholesale business.
â€œDuring his time as Managing Director for Germany, Sweden and Norway, Max has done an outstanding job of building these critical markets and transforming them into Icebreaker's number one market globally,â€ said Tony Balfour, General Manager â€“ Markets. â€œThere are a large and increasing number of opportunities for business growth and synergy across Europe. Given his past experience and success, Max is the ideal person to be our on-the-ground leader there and bring new resources and strategy to the region.â€
â€œAs GM of Europe, my mission will be to improve our sharing of best practices, further enhance our retail partnerships and bring all individual country organizations to their next level,â€ said Hofbauer. â€œI am really excited about this new role, and I see many opportunities for Icebreaker by strengthening our European efforts.â€
Icebreaker acquired its distributor in Germany, Sweden and Norway from Bradshaw Taylor Ltd. in February 2009 and Hofbauer was named Managing Director of the new Icebreaker Pure Merino GmbH. Icebreaker now has business units in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Germany/Scandinavia, Switzerland, France and Eastern Europe.
Prior to joining Icebreaker, Hofbauer was with The North Face as General Manager â€“ Germany, Austria and Switzerland from 1999 through 2007, during which time he started and successfully grew the sales and marketing subsidiary to develop and service those markets. From 1990 to 1998, he was with Schoeffel Sportbekleidung, the German outdoor and ski apparel company, first as National and International Sales Manager and then Brand Manager.
Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino fibre layering system for the outdoors. It was also the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino directly from growers, a system it began in 1997. The Icebreaker apparel system includes underwear, mid layer garments, outerwear, socks and accessories. There are outdoor, technical and lifestyle categories, each with its own specific fabrics and design details. Icebreaker is sold in more than 3,000 stores in 37 countries.
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino handpicked from 140 high country stations in the country's Southern Alps to create adventure clothing for women, men and kids that combines nature's work with human technology and design. The company is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare. In 2008 the company launched â€œIcebreaker Baacode,â€ a pioneering supply chain transparency and traceability program. Each Icebreaker includes a unique Baacode, which enables customers to trace the garment online from rearing the sheep through to each stage of the supply chain process.