Following the multiple requests and in order to summarize what has been posted on this matter,

I confirm my resignation from RAIDLIGHT and Groupe Rossignol mid-February 2019, putting a stop to the journey that started over 20 years ago when I created RAIDLIGHT and brought together my endeavour for running and my professional experience as a textile engineer.

We decided, with Vincent THIBAUDAT, my partner and my duo for 7 years now, to resign from our respective roles as Groupe Rossignol’s  Outdoor Vice-President and Director of Management Control.

Of course, this marks a turning point for RAIDLIGHT, and it was not an easy decision to take for any of us. The thing is, we did not share anymore the structuring strategic and organizational choices for RAIDLIGHT and Groupe Rossignol, which I will not discuss in detail in respect of professional secrecy. After several initiatives to come up with a solution, we finally agreed to regain freedom.

In 2016, RAIDLIGHT-VERTICAL joined Groupe Rossignol, because its strong growth called for a capital structure change in order to follow the Trailrunning fastmoving marketplace, and because the brand’s internationalization was necessary to sustain in the medium-term. Choosing Groupe Rossignol enabled the company to bring forward funding and synergies for a promising development. We have no regrets about this choice, we perfectly know the rules of the game and knew the changes that may result from it.

We did start from zero, and can be proud of what has been accomplished since year 1999, with all our staff, shareholders, suppliers, clients and users. RAIDLIGHT has become the pioneering brand for Trailrunning in France and Europe, a major actor with an uninterrupted double-digit growth each of those years, to reach today a turnover of almost 10 millions euros, about 50 employees, and in total, sold more than 5 millions of backpacks, clothes, shoes, accessories … in more than 75 countries around the world!

RAIDLIGHT has shown continuous inventiveness and perseverance :
– innovation regarding light and ergonomic products on all tracks for Trail running and adventure,
– Digital presence and E-commerce since 1999,
– creation of a user community « Team RAIDLIGHT open to all » to share experiences (2008),
– An open-innovation and co-designing hub (2008),
– the recovery and development of the brand VERTICAL (2010),
– the establishment of RAIDLIGHT-VERTICAL in Chartreuse, France, to have a proper LAB  and be at the nearest of the mountain lands (2011),
– the large-scale realization of the users experience through the Trail Stations network (2011),
– the opening of a Made in France production workshop where over 80 000 goods have been produced since 2014,
– the development of subsidiaries in Spain (2013) and in Japan (2015), …

We are leaving RAIDLIGHT-VERTICAL in good shape with this French group from Isère also born in Chartreuse, with a new logo, new innovative product ranges for 2019 and Revolutiv for shoes, textiles, and backpacks. We wish good luck and all the best for the coming years, to all parties involved of RAIDLIGHT et Rossignol.

There is no doubt that Vincent and I will soon embark on new entrepreneurial adventures; after finishing ongoing training courses with INSEAD/ HEC  to learn more about digital marketing, innovation strategies, LBO and business recovery, … Today, we leave RAIDLIGHT, and  we will keep an eye on its development.

We will both continue to do Trail running intensively, and I am already looking forward to running again the Barkley Marathons in spring, co-organize the Chartreuse Terminorum this summer, and run and explore new mountains around the world and the steep trails of Chartreuse.

See you soon on the tracks, to share experiences about Trail running, and feel alive…

Benoit LAVAL
Founder of RAIDLIGHT

(Linked to the article is the official press release of Groupe Rossignol – and Raidlight’s 20th anniversary cap)