The European-Clearing-Center (ECC), which acts as a platform for electronic data exchange between producers and retailers in the footwear and fashion sector, is strengthening its management team.

As of April 1, Stefan Nicolai, an expert in inventory and data management, will become managing director for marketing and sales as a representative of ANWR Group, a German buying group which is a member of EEC, supporting the incumbent ECC managing director and founder Jörg Frommann. ECC is based in Bergkamen, Germany.

ETOS is the main shareholder of ECC and is represented by Frommann. Other partners include the retailer cooperative Sabu and the shoe and leather goods industry association HDS/L.

Nicolai comes from a sports retail background and has been with the sports association Intersport since 2012. There, the 44-year-old textile business economist was responsible, among other things, for setting up and managing Nike system sales, implementing planning and scheduling software, and transferring supplier and product data management to a central department.

ETOS noted that ANWR proposed Nicolai “in the context of our close cooperation”, adding that his ”expertise and his networking with sports retailers will be a great asset for the expansion of our industry platform.”

In ECC, Nicolai has to ensure the rapid expansion of the SPOCC database . SPOCC stands for “Single Point of Content and Communication” and is ECC’s central content and inventory database and is open to its members. In the database, all information on products, images and availability is brought together and made available to data recipients in real time. “It is time to convince retailers of a cross-industry solution for content, images and inventory,” Nicolai explains.

With this move, ANWR Group intends to further focus on the digitalization of retail. Matthias Grevener, responsible for this area on the ANWR Group board, places ECC as an integral part of ANWR’s digitization strategy: “In order to drive internationalization, the inclusion of the sports industry and the provision of B2C article data, ANWR is providing the ECC with another competent managing director.”

Even before he officially takes office, Nicolai will introduce himself at the ECC’s Go Digital I/O conference on Feb. 25. The conference, which is being held for the fourth time, will focus on discussing the benefits and opportunities of the SPOCC database with retailers, suppliers and representatives of the association groups. Interested parties can register for the online conference at godigital-io.de.

According to its website, ECC comprises more than 400 manufacturers, with over 800 brands, and more than 1,500 dealers with over 7,000 stores.