Carlo Bortoli, the Italian entrepreneur from the wine and publishing industries who took over this brand of snow sports and cycling products two years ago, has appointed Gianluca Pellegrinelli to replace him as chief executive, while remaining as an ?active? chairman of the company. A well-known personality of the Italian sporting goods industry, the 45-year-old Pellegrinelli is expected to drive the commercial development of the company after a major reorganization in terms of product development, price positioning and distribution.

After four years with Tecnica Group, Pellegrinelli led Intersport's Italian organization for four years until 2002. He subsequently set up a company to market surplus merchandise in emerging markets and a little chain of sports stores, but he has dropped all these activities. Pellegrinelli and his staff will move at the end of this year from a little town in the Piedmont region to a new head office in Milan.

Briko was for many years the property of Paola del Vecchio, one of the daughters of Luxottica's founder, but its annual sales plummeted from €25 million to €4 million before its liquidation. Following Boroli's energetic intervention on many levels, the brand's turnover doubled last year and is now expected to grow in 2010 by more than 30 percent to nearly €7 million, with half of the volume sold in Italy, and the company should start generating a profit.

While the brand is known especially for its snow goggles, which are worn by Bode Miller and other ski champions, eyewear represents only about 10 percent of the company's sales, in spite of the family that owned it previously, but the potential for further development in this area is big. Snow helmets and cycling clothing, including the ceramic suits worn by Paolo Bettini, are more important components of the product range.

The brand enjoyed strong visibility at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and about 98 percent of the product range shipped for current spring/summer 2010 season and ordered for fall/winter is new. It has been well received by distributors and retailers.

The winter range has started to be marketed again in North America through a sales subsidiary established last September in Montreal, with another office in Burlington, Vermont. It is headed up by Kirsten Andreae, who has 25 years of experience in the market.

The brand has agents in France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, and distributors in many other countries.