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Changes at Rapala as Ollberg and Aho announce retirements


Rapala VMC has announced changes to its newly-named Global Management Team ahead of the impending retirement of two senior managers.

Long-serving COO Lars Ollberg (pictured) is retiring at the end of this month, while Olli Aho, General Counsel, Head of Investor Relations and Secretary of the Board, will retire at the end of December this year.

Ollberg’s duties will be largely assumed by President and CEO Nicolas Cederström Warchalowski. “This will further simplify the management structure with as few layers as possible to ensure that we work closer with our business units around the world as part of the new One Rapala VMC strategy,” says a Stock Exchange release.

The majority of Aho’s responsibilities at Global Management Team level will be handled by CFO Jan-Elof Cavander, together with senior members of his cross-functional finance, business development, IT, HR and legal teams.

Ollberg spent 44 years at Rapala, starting his career as a sales representative and progressing through various sales, marketing, product development and sourcing positions at many of the company’s businesses around the world.

As Director of Lines and Accessories he was closely involved in the acquisition of Sufix in 2008 and relocated to Taiwan. He became Division Director, based in Hong Kong, in 2011, and then Division Vice President, Director of Distribution in Asia Pacific in 2013.

He was appointed  COO in 2017, based in Helsinki, and has been instrumental in managing COVID-related challenges and implementing the One Rapala VMC strategy across areas of the business for which he has been responsible.

“I am so proud and humbled when looking back at my life and career with Rapala VMC,” said Ollberg. “I feel very lucky having been part of something which started small and which has grown to a respected player in the premium league of the fishing tackle industry. I am also very relieved in looking ahead. Rapala VMC’s journey will continue steadily and the company will be heading to even further heights with new leadership and vision.”

Olli Aho has led multiple acquisitions during his 24 years with Rapala, along with the company’s listing on the Nasdaq Helsinki Stock Exchange in 1998. “I have truly enjoyed working with so many nice and passionate colleagues and friends,” he said. “It has been really great that I have been able to bring my contribution to Rapala VMC’s growth and success since 1998. Rapala VMC has developed into a truly multi-national and unified company with a strong and solid One Rapala VMC strategy, which will secure future success,” said Aho, who will continue serving as a Senior Legal Advisor until December 31st, 2024

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