Luís Onofre is the new President of CEC

Luís Onofre is the new President of the European Footwear Industry (CEC). In the past Friday, the ceremony was at Palácio da Bolsa in Oporto, and the new President took office, succeeding the Italian Cleto Sagripanti. “I dedicate this election to APICCAPS and all the companies from our sector. It’s a public acknowledgement of the continued efforts of the Portuguese companies throughout decades. Together, and with determination, we can gain the respect of our European partners”, stated.

The Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, congratulated APICCAPS’ President for his “remarkable journey” of “reinventing the footwear sector” but also congratulated the work of all associations and entrepreneurs “that have invested in differentiation, design and the rise of the Portuguese footwear value in the value chain, and by overcoming adversities and positioning themselves on the top of the world market, therefore gaining an international reputation”. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa didn’t forget to congratulate the “complementary sectors of the footwear cluster” and textile, jewelry and other “industrial footwear partners”.

With headquarters in Brussels, CEC represents the whole European footwear industry. An industry that counts with approximately 21.000 companies, which are responsible for over 278.000 jobs.

In the new role as President, Luís Onofre sets as goal “the reinforcement of CEC as a leader of a network of European manufacturers”. Luís Onofre also promises a close collaboration with technological centers or research institutions, in order to “promote an European innovation hub”, with designers and other several players in fashion, to “stimulate a leadership in creativity” in partnership with regional environments and business schools to further develop a qualified supply, “more in line with the new business scenario”.

The new President of CEC has also not forgotten that the world has changed and the free trade Europe and CEC have been promoting is currently being threatened by the trade war “that President Trump has opened to almost all of their trade partners”, as a response to China’s application of additional fees. This “imposes a huge competitive pressure in the whole market”, as well as the “walls” that Brexit has created in Europe and the ascending of extremist political movements “that are happening throughout the world”.

Uncertainty “became the norm”, assures Luís Onofre, also saying that uncertainty “is the companies’ worst enemy”. However, uncertainty doesn’t come solely from politics. “The whole foundation of business is being challenged” by the changing trends and tastes of the new consumers, by the changes in retail and the increasing development of new e-commerce channels, by the Industry 4.0 or by the sustainability challenges, which force us into giving new responses not only at the materials level but also at the level of association’s leaders that need to “help theirs companies prepare for this changes”.