Jan Stig Andersen is leaving ECCO at the end of August, after 14 years spent as the right-hand man of its late founder, Karl Toosby, and in leading positions within the company, to become president of Brandtex, a Danish textiles group about the same size of ECCO that changed ownership recently. Andersen has been running over the last five years ECCO’s American operations, turning them around by setting up a strong management team around him. Last year, ECCO’s sales in the region increased by 12 percent in volume and by 8 percent in euros. Tom Nelson, vice president of sales for the region, will take over Andersen’s place. Separately, Michel Krol, who has done an excellent job as manager of ECCO Benelux, has been placed in charge of a new region, ECCO Europe West, that also comprises the UK, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Meanwhile, ECCO has agreed to form next Jan. 1 a joint venture in China with its long-standing distributor there, Aibu, with a plan to double sales in that country over the next three years. The product range will continue to be sourced internationally. Thanks to Aibu, which has position ECCO at a high level of the market, the brand’s annual sales in China have increased to nearly 250,000 pairs over the past eight years.