Roeland Smets is stepping down as general manager of CEC, the European shoe industry federation based in Brussels, after 40 years in office. The elderly lobbyist, who is close to 70 years old, had been suffering from serious health problems recently.

On top of that, Dimitri Karampinis, the Greek economist who began to help Smets out one year ago, died of a long illness in May, at the age of 54. Karampinis, whose original name was Karabinis, did a lot for CEC. He studied under Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Paris and ran the Greek Shoe Federation, Elsevie, from 1987 to 2010.

Complimenting Smets for the tremendous work that he has done for the European shoe industry, the representatives of the affiliated national shoe associations appointed a 28-year-old manager, Eline Van Audenaerd, to replace Smets at the head of CEC's operations at the organization's annual meeting in Budapest last week. A graduate in economics, she has previously worked for the United Nations. Smets will continue to work at CEC for six months as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition.

The members of CEC re-elected Vito Artioli as president of CEC for two more years, with a charge to lobby in Brussels for mandatory labels of imports and strict respect of the new European Reach norms on toxic substances in footwear. The younger Cleto Sagripanti replaced Artioli as president of Anci, the Italian shoe industry association, last month. While Artioli was representing Anci in CEC's deliberations before, Sagripanti will have that role in the next two years.