Warchalowski resigns as Rapala VMC President and CEO
Rapala VMC President and CEO Nicolas Cederström Warchalowski has left the company. The announcement came Wednesday afternoon and said that his departure was mutually agreed with the Group’s Board of Directors.
Louis d’Alançon has been appointed interim President with immediate effect and he will also continue in his role as Board Chairman. The recruiting process for a new CEO will begin immediately.
Appointed in March 2020, Warchalowski looked to be doing a good job as he introduced a leaner management team and led the acquisition of Okuma’s European and Russian trademarks in January this year.
But pressure began to build as markets became tougher post-COVID and economies began to shrink. The company’s recent half-year figures showed a 7% year-on-year decline, with profits for the six months down by almost half.
However, Warchalowski has insisted that his team did a remarkable job to produce these results in the difficult circumstances.
The change at the top comes at an interesting time, with material costs spiralling and Rapala moving its entire lure production to Parnu in Estonia by the end of this year. Demand for product has dropped since COVID, but costs have risen, said Rapala.
Speaking exclusively to Angling International at the ICAST Trade Show in Florida in July, Warchalowski pledged a return to a more ‘aggressive growth track’. “To restart growth, product innovation has to be brought back to centre stage. Our brand portfolio needs to go through a certain revitalisation,” he added.
Louis d’Alançon said in to his afternoon’s announcement: “We want to thank Nicolas for his strong contribution to our strategic initiatives aimed at growth, improvement of profitability and improving the operational performance during the difficult COVID-19 period.
“We expect his successor to continue these actions and to have special emphasis on global sales, brand building and improving operational performance.”
Warchalowski, who will be available to the Rapala Board until May 16th, 2023 to assist on special projects and help with a smooth transition, commented: “I want to warmly thank all Rapala VMC employees and other stakeholders for the good co-operation and great experiences during my time with Rapala VMC. We have worked together on several new fronts with strategic initiatives, which I believe will form a good platform for Rapala’s long-term success. Now it’s time for someone else to take the lead and for me to pursue new things in due course.”