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Industry veteran joins Angling Direct’s European expansion


Retail chain Angling Direct, which has announced a 19.5% increase in revenue for the first half of this year, has appointed the experienced André Akkermans to help expand its European operation.

Akkermans, who counts Fox International and Svendsen Sport among his previous companies, becomes Commercial Manager Europe for the UK-based business. The appointment fits with Angling Direct’s strategy to become a major online supplier in mainland Europe.

Akkermans will initially be responsible for Holland, where he is based and where AD plans to set up a distribution centre, along with France, Benelux, Austria and Germany.

“I will be part of the team working on establishing a route into Europe and connecting a European network. It feels great to be back in the angling trade,” said Akkermans, who has been working outside of the industry for the past year. “It is a great opportunity to join Angling Direct. I have had such a warm welcome from people within the industry, for which I am very grateful.”

Speaking from Angling Direct’s headquarters in Norwich, where he is spending a week-long induction to learn about the company’s structure and business model and to meet his new colleagues, Akkermans explained why he didn’t hesitate to take the role. “I really like the urgency here to go forward, the ambition to grow and to be the best. We want to roll out into Europe what has worked so well in the UK. Currently, Angling Direct’s European business is essentially three websites, French, German and Dutch. The goal is simple. We want to get everyone fishing.”

Akkermans’ experience to date has been on the supply side of the trade and this will be his first taste of retail. He started his career with Sensas in 1993 before setting up and running the Fox distribution centre in Meer, Belgium as European Managing Director for 14 years. He moved to Svendsen as head of its DAM brand in 2016 and after that he joined UK brand Wolf.

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