Willem Haitink is the new CEO of O'Neill

July 4, 2011 | Surfing
The house of Jack O'Neill: plenty of wetsuits in there

Willem Haitink is the new CEO of the O'Neill group. The Dutch businessman is 48 years old and was the former General Manager of Converse Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"I am thrilled to be working for a brand with such a rich history," said Willem Haitink. "I look forward to spearheading the growth of O'Neill globally and bringing the brand closer to consumers around the world in a manner which fits the authenticity of the brand," he said.

He has worked for Nike and will be replacing Jan Valdmaa, who successfully led the brand to growth over the past two years.

"Willem is well respected in the industry and we are confident that he will fit in with O'Neill very quickly. With his quality and experience he is the right fit to propel O'Neill growth on a global scale, where we aim to become the preferred international brand in our industry over the coming years", says Ronald de Waal of WE international.

The O'Neill brand was founded in 1952 by Jack O'Neill, a passionate Californian surfer. Pioneering the world's first neoprene surf wetsuit, Jack had successfully found a way to extend his surf sessions in the bone-chilling breaks of Northern California. He opened up the garage doors to his first surf shop soon after.

Today, O'Neill is a member of the elite club of four companies that control more than 80% of the surf industry market.

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