Premier European outfitter Bergans of Norway announced the retirement of its CEO Ragnar Jensen, and the appointment of Leif Holst-Liæker as his replacement.
Jensen joined Bergans Fritid AS in 1981 and has been in charge of the company since 1991. With his unique insight and experience, from both business life and outdoor pursuits, he has made many significant contributions to Bergans’ success in recent decades. After 23 years at the helm, Jensen, 70, will retire in December, but will remain on the company’s board and will continue to be involved in Bergans’ future operations and growth.
Ranked the #1 young managerial talent by Norway’s largest online business news site E24, and known for his collaborative and personable leadership style, Holst-Liæker, 36, officially joins Bergans later this year, and will work closely with Jensen until his retirement the end of this year.
During the last eight years, Holst-Liæker operated in various roles with the Norwegian conglomerate Bertel O. Steen Group, including four years as managing director of Viking Footwear and the last one and a half years as managing director of Bertel O. Steen Holding AS and Bertel O. Steen Invest AS. Before Bertel O. Steen, Holst-Liæker worked for five years as a consultant and project manager at McKinsey & Company. He earned a master of science in business and economics from the Norwegian Business School in Oslo.
“Bergans is a company and a brand that I have admired for many years. I am impressed at what the company has achieved over the years and the unique position the brand has built, particularly in the Norwegian market. Taking over after Ragnar is a great honor and I am very excited about the inherent opportunities this gives me. This is a task I will approach with great respect and humility, while also looking forward to exploring the development and improvement potential of the brand and business,” comments Holst-Liæker.
Last year, Bergans reported the best third quarter in the history of the 107-year-old outdoor clothing and equipment brand. Worldwide sales increased 16 percent for the first 10 months of 2014. The company credits its successful growth due to 30 percent of its sales taking place outside of Norway.
Bergans and its products have a longstanding reputation with history-making expeditions and adventurers such as first conqueror of the South Pole, Roald Amundsen who traveled with Bergans equipment; Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary who used the Bergans carrying frame for transporting oxygen bottles; Cecilie Skog, the first woman in the world to both successfully top the “The Seven Summits”, “The Three Poles”, and to cross Antarctica unassisted and unsupported; and Ryan Waters, the first American to complete an unsupported explorers grand slam (reaching the North Pole, the South Pole and climbing all Seven Summits).
Other modern day Bergans athletes include polar explorer John Huston, jibber and X Games Freeride competitor Anders Backe, and 2013 Freeride World Qualifier Tour winner Lorraine Huber.
Bergans offers a broad range of backpacks, tents, foldable canoes, and technical and fashionably functional outdoor and ski clothing. For more information about Bergans of Norway and its products, go to www.bergans.com. For North American sales questions, contact Keith Patterson at email@example.com.
Photos: Top – Ragnar Jensen. Bottom – Leif Holst-Liæker
ABOUT BERGANS OF NORWAY
Bergans was established in 1908, when Ole Ferdinand Bergan invented the first anatomical backpack. Today backpacks, functional outdoor clothing and tents are part of the portfolio of Bergans of Norway, as well as the ALLY brand of packable canoes. Adventurers such as South Pole conqueror Roald Amundsen, Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary, and heroes of our time such as Polar explorers Rune Gjeldnes or Cecilie Skog trust Bergans equipment on their expeditions.
The Scandinavian brand was established in 1908 by Ole F. Bergan after he invented the anatomical frame pack. During a hunting trip, he cut and shaped a juniper branch to match the curve of his back and attached it to his heavy, loose-fitting rucksack, a design now mirrored in every anatomical backpack produced today, including Bergans award winning Glittertind. The company offers a broad range of backpacks, tents, foldable canoes, and technical and fashionably functional outdoor and ski clothing.
The headquarter of Bergans Fritid AS is situated in Hokksund, Norway, 60 km southwest of Oslo, where 90-plus employees work in development, research, design and sales. Bergans is a market leader in Norway and steadily growing in several export markets in Europe and North America (www.bergans.com).