Luís Onofre, the fashion designer who heads up the Portuguese shoe and leathergoods industry association, Apiccaps, has been elected as the new president of the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC), which represents more than 21,000 companies employing over 278,000 people all over Europe.

He will take over the reins of the Brussels-based lobbying organization from another relatively young entrepreneur from Italy, Cleto Sagripanti, on March 24, shortly before the World Footwear Congress organized by CEC in Naples on April 4-5. Registrations are still open for the convention, which will focus on digitalization and sustainability, while providing opportunities for networking, visits at local companies and tourism.

Onofre, who established his own brand in 1999 (see the article below), has been running Apiccaps since May 2017. Three years earlier, he had received the Order of Entrepreneurial Merit from the president of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva.

It is the second time that a Portuguese executive has been elected to run CEC after Fortunato Federico, head of Kyaya and former president of Apiccaps, took over the helm of the European organization in 2001, holding the post for two years. Sagripanti, a former president of Anci (now Assocalzaturifici), was elected president of CEC in 2015 and re-elected to the post for a second mandate two years later.