DIEREN, the Netherlands - A new board took office at Dutch Royal Gazelle recently. On May 1 Jaap Merkus (left) succeeded interim director Xeno Grimmelt as general manager and more recently Eric Otto (in the middle) joined as commercial director taking over from Roy Fuijk (right) who was appointed by Gazelle owner Pon Holdings as manager marketing and sales of Porsche Netherlands. Former Gazelle interim general manager Xeno Grimmelt is now heading the Pon Bicycle Group as senior vice president.
Jaap Merkus and Eric Otto are new at Pon Holdings and Gazelle. Both have been leading Dutch brands; Jaap Merkus at Philips and Eric Otto at Bruynzeel Kitchens as well as KPN. Both have a background in retail.
Eric Otto: “I gained a lot of know how on retailing at KPN as well as at Bruynzeel.” He can’t say anything yet on his policy as commercial manager at Gazelle. “It too early for that, I just started. First I have to get to know more about the industry and the market.”
Similarities between Gazelle and Philips
In the past 10 years Jaap Merkus has been working at the international consumer division of Philips. “The similarities between Gazelle and Philips are obvious. Both are great brands with a long history, offering nice convenience products for consumers. Brands like that are very inspiring to work for. They are focused on innovation and to make consumer’s everyday life as easy as possible. Among our dealers as well as among the Gazelle employees I do experience this focus and passion.”
Innovation is crucial
Innovation is regarded as crucial by Merkus. “Innovation is all important for the product, above all the e-bike, to optimize the experience of cycling. But it also applies to brand experience in our retail channel. Our dealers will have to innovate as well. Market developments go fast. That is way I prefer people with different industry backgrounds, like Eric, in my management team. Together we can bring in new ideas. Integrated thinking about the whole distribution chain is very important, especially in today’s, unpredictable market.”
Photo: Michel Zoeter