Press release November 2021:

After 150 years: First CEO recruited from outside the family

Martin Dahl is the new CEO of Sika Footwear. For the first time ever in the company’s 150-year history, the country’s oldest manufacturer of safety shoes will be headed by a CEO from outside the Engelbredt family.

November 1st marked the beginning of a brand new era for the oldest safety shoe manufacturer in Denmark, Sika Footwear. After 150 years with the Engelbredt family at the helm, the CEO baton was formally passed on to Martin Dahl, who is the first ever outsider to lead the business based in Herning, Denmark. 

Martin Dahl comes from a role of Country Manager for Denmark and Finland at Bridgestone, where he has worked since 2009. As CEO, Martin Dahl is expected to continue Sika Footwear’s stable growth while expanding the company’s position domestically as well as internationally.

Four generations draw to a close

Martin Dahl is taking over the position from 62-year-old Ole Engelbredt, fourth generation of Engelbredts to lead the family business. Ole Engelbredt has worked for the company for 45 years, served as CEO for 34 years and has been the sole owner for 22 years. So it is a highly experienced and well-known leader in management, production and trade who will be stepping down. However, the Engelbredt family will continue to play an important role in the company, with Ole continuing working in the product and development department as well as on the board. Ole Engelbredt’s partner Lotte Pedersen has also been involved in the business over the past 20 years, while their daughters are both shareholders at Sika Footwear.

“I have planned to step back from administrative work to have more time to concentrate on my family, development tasks and my hobbies. To find the right person to take over the role has been quite a journey, and the process has taken over a year,” says Ole Engelbredt. He adds:

“It was very important to me and my family to find an experienced and empathetic leader to continue our journey of growth with our talented employees and loyal customers. I am therefore very proud to be able to pass on the responsibility to Martin, who we see as an ideal match in communication with the family and the board, and in the approach to the company. We knew he was the right person within the first 15 minutes of the interview.” 

Set to develop strategy for the coming years

Martin Dahl has the same positivity about working together with the Engelbredts and Sika’s 140 employees.

“Sika is a healthy company with good, solid family values, and therefore my most important task will be to develop and continue what has already been built here in Herning. I always aim to be very open, accessible and visible in my leadership style, and I believe this is necessary not only to create growth, but also stability,” says Martin Dahl, who will work together with Ole Engelbredt and the board in the near future to define and develop a new five-year plan for the company’s strategy and goals which will succeed the previous five-year plan which will conclude at the end of 2022. 

Martin Dahl and Ole Engelbredt do not want to reveal any further details at this stage, but are happy to unveil some of the sub-goals that will appear in the new strategy.

“We are aiming for growth and a profit margin of at least ten per cent in order to ensure that the business is well-balanced and prepared for increased competition in future. Additionally, we are very eager to pursue an even stronger position outside of Denmark. This includes the other Scandinavian markets, as well as Germany, Austria and Switzerland,” says Ole Engelbredt.