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Published
Jul 2, 2014
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Karhu taken over by the former president of Asics Europe

Published
Jul 2, 2014

The new challenge that Francesco Arese has set for himself: develop the Finnish brand Karhu. The former president of the Italian athletics federation, who was also president of Asics Europe until March 2013, has just taken up a majority stake in Karhu Holding BV.

Francesco Arese is buying control of Karhu. Photo European Athletics.


Karhu, which means "bear" in Finnish, is specialized in running and skiwear, and is primarily distributed through the outdoor retailers. The brand was founded in 1916, originally focused on running and javelin. The brand’s key technology is called Fulcrum, launched in 2000, and claims to reduce energy wasted by superfluous bouncing.

The Ares family will set up an office in Amsterdam to coordinate the brand’s international operations and to increase its present on the European market. "Our first priority is to gear the Karhu brand up for its 100-year anniversary, invest in R&D, and focus on product creation," said Francesco Arese in a statement. The brand also opened its first Karhu store in Helsinki in May.

Karhu running shoes. Image: Karhu.


As for the brand’s organization, Huub Valkenburg is Karhu’s CEO. Emanuele Arese, son of Francesco, is becoming president of Karhu Holding BV. He was most recently the lifestyle sales manager for Asics and Onitsuka Tiger for Europe.

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