FRANK VAN WEZEL was born in VLISSINGEN, HOLLAND, where he spent his childhood and adolescence. He was the youngest student in his year at NYENRODE BUSINESS UNIVERSITY (www.nyenrode.nl) from where he graduated with honours before fulfilling his National Service obligations as a Lieutenant in the Dutch Air Force.
Upon leaving the Air Force, he worked and studied in LONDON and PARIS, after which he lived in East Africa for 10 years before being eventually transferred to ESSEX in ENGLAND. His love of Squash and Tennis led to his involvement in the sports shoe industry where he was instrumental in the introduction of the first specialist Squash shoe, which subsequently led to the creation of HI-TEC SPORTS PLC. Now more than 18 million pairs of the first shoe, still commercialised even today, have been sold.
From humble beginnings in 1974, the Company was floated on THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE in June 1988. Chairman VAN WEZEL decided to privatise the Company once again because he felt stifled by the demands of short-term profit goals of being a Public Company. This happened in 2000.
HI-TEC SPORTS now enjoys worldwide recognition as being one of the world leaders in sports footwear with distribution in approximately 80 countries and subsidiary Companies in UK, CANADA, USA, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, FRANCE, CZECH REPUBLIC and the BENELUX. The Company currently employs approximately 400 employees and generates global sales of more than US$ 250 million. Part of this turnover is with the brand MAGNUM – the specialist boot for many people in uniform all over the world.
In 1998, MR VAN WEZEL was elected a Life Vice President of the SQUASH RACKETS ASSOCIATION in the UK, an honour bestowed for the first time by the Association in recognition of the services he has rendered to the game of Squash worldwide. MR VAN WEZEL was also a founding member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the UNIVERSITY OF BATH's SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT. Currently he is chairman of the STICHTING NYENRODE FUND, a fundraising organisation for the only private business university in the Netherlands.
FRANK VAN WEZEL and his family have lived in ENGLAND for more than 38 years, and he is blessed with two daughters and one son. His two sons-in-law and his son work in the business, which is a true family affair. This sport loving Dutchman enjoys Soccer, Tennis, Squash, Skiing and Golf. He is a Director of his local professional soccer team, SOUTHEND UNITED, and is also a sponsor of the SOUTHEND RUGBY CLUB. He also financially supports a couple of soccer clubs in Holland as he says: “Just for the love of the game!”
Our Chairman's statement
When I Google 'good news' I get a million less hits than when I Google bad news! What's going on with us? Why are we so busy with bad news? Where is our confidence, our faith? Why have people less and less perspective? I have no immediate answer. What I do know is that it makes no sense at all to continuously put the spotlight on negative things/issues. I think that our glass is still more than half full!!
Economically speaking, it is a fact that the European share of the global economy in the past few years is more or less stable in spite of the growth of the so-called BRIC countries. Countries in Mid and East Europe have grown faster than the rest of the world (with the exception of China). Western Europe created more jobs between 1995 and 2010 than the USA. Europe has, in the same periods, exported more products than these BRIC countries who are always portrayed as economic powerhouses whom we must show utmost respect for. London is still the most important financial centre in the world. The USA is showing signs of higher employment, more consumer spending power and the beginning of a recovery in house prices.
Europe may not have Apple or Microsoft, but Volkswagen is the largest car maker in the world and Unilever the largest detergent maker. The infrastructure in the Netherlands is one of the finest in the world ... it also has the world’s best DJs! Seven of the best 10 museums are in Europe, Spain is the world champion in football and Europe's golfers are the best in the world.
According to Lonely Planet, in 2013 the two best cities in the world to visit will be San Francisco and Amsterdam. We have great Italian food, superb Belgian beers, great American steaks, etc. We have very green national parks, the Alps, the Mediterranean sea, Florida, etc. Europe and the United States have the best universities respectively. Out of the top 100 no less than 39 are in Europe and 36 in the USA.
Sweden has the best social security system in the world. Overall, the standard of life in the advanced economies of Europe is the highest now it ever was in human history.
In our industry we have the finest sports footwear brands just around us in the Netherlands. We at Hi-Tec and Magnum have recently launched our Autumn/Winter 2013 collections and the designers and product developers are now already busy with Spring/Summer 2014 (18 months ahead!) Our distributors worldwide have given us encouragement that we are on the right track. This is something to be grateful for.
More and more people are employed in the leisure industry because, in spite of the pressures, everyone still values spare time.
I could go on and on, but I invite everyone to count their blessings. Let all the good news around you make you smile and feel happy. It will be infectious on others and they will probably feel better for it.
The glass is more than half full. Tough times do not last, but tough people do. Keep smiling!
Frank van Wezel