FRANK VAN WEZEL was born in VLISSINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS, 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 19 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 in 2000 because he felt stifled by the demands of short-term profit goals of being a Public Company.
HI-TEC SPORTS now enjoys worldwide recognition as being one of the world leaders in sports and outdoor footwear with distribution in approximately 85 countries and subsidiary Companies in UK, CANADA, USA, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY 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. For more information: www.magnumboots.com.
MR VAN WEZEL was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Sports Trade. Equally he is 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. He is member of the STICHTING NYENRODE FUND, a fundraising organisation for the only private business university in The Netherlands.
In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate honouris causa in Business Administration by the Anglia Ruskin University of Cambridge and Chelmsford, showing his consistent business leadership for 40 years.
FRANK VAN WEZEL and his family have lived in ENGLAND for more than 40 years, and he has 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!”
I was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Sports Industry. They said it was for unrivalled dedication, passion and commitment to the UK and global sports industry. What an honour! In my acceptance speech I told the audience that I was slightly confused as I felt that after 40 years in the trade I was only just beginning. Kind of like: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Let’s hope so for the wonderful people in HI-TEC and MAGNUM – I must honour them for getting me this award since they do all the work day in, day out and over 40 years I have given stewardship to some great guys and girls. Lots of British and Irish customers were present and they too deserve my big thanks. Some have been buying from us since the first years and can only be described as ‘most loyal.’
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” I knew from the start that I wanted to produce honest products at honest prices which would serve my consumer’s hard earned cash very well. I had the courage to stick to this philosophy. Nowadays we deliver Hi-Tec products to 86 countries (last count) but are still happy to serve small orders from independent retailers all over the world.
At the same time we supply our MAGNUM products to countless military forces, police departments, emergency service teams, prison supervisors, health workers and blue collar work forces.
Thank you all for putting your faith in our team. We have recently celebrated our 40th anniversary with a big party (we all like parties here at HQ). In doing so we stay true to one of our four company principles: FUN. The other three are: PROUD, HUNGRY and HONEST. These four are the pillars of all we do.
We want to be transparent in all we do. If you do not like anything we do, you can email me directly at email@example.com. This email address is also printed in every shoebox we send out. I know that the consumer of 2014 is extremely knowledgeable and knows exactly what he or she need and expects from our products. What consumers tell me will be incorporated in our future offering – I guarantee you this. I want us to create a product with actual and relevant added value.
Thank you for making it all possible. I LOVE MY JOB!
Frank van Wezel
Chairman Hi-Tec Sports International Holdings B.V.