Open main menu

Head N.V. is an American-Dutch sports and clothing company, which sells alpine skiing and tennis equipment. The company includes parts of several previously independent companies, including Head Ski Company, founded in Delaware, United States, in 1950; Tyrolia, an Austrian ski-equipment manufacturer; and Mares, an Italian manufacturer of diving equipment.[2] Head Ski Company produced one of the first successful metal-wood composite downhill skis, the Head Standard, and one of the first oversized metal tennis rackets.[3] The company is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Head N.V.
Naamloze vennootschap
Industrysportswear and Sports equipment
Founded1950 (Baltimore, Maryland, United States)
HeadquartersAmsterdam, Netherlands

Kennelbach, Austria

Boulder, Colorado USA
Key people
Howard Head (founder)
Johan Eliasch (CEO)
RevenueIncrease $375.4 million (2014)[1]
Decrease $2.8 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
2,499 (2014)[1]


Head N.V. was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, in 1950 by aeronautical engineer Howard Head, after he took a ski trip and was astonished to see his skis were made of wood in an era when metals and plastics were replacing wood in many product designs. Head worked at the Glenn L. Martin Company where they used a form of aluminum and plastic laminate to build the fuselages of aircraft, and he felt the same material would make an ideal ski. After two years of constantly breaking skis, by the winter of 1950 they had a design that not only stayed together, but made turning dramatically easier.

The Head Standard would rapidly grow in sales through the 1950s, until it and other Head designs were capturing over 50% of the US market during the 1960s, making them the leading ski manufacturer in the U.S. and the UK. Head resisted the change to fibreglass construction. In 1967, Howard Head hired Harold Seigle as company president, and became the Chairman of the Board and CEO. Bored of the results, in 1969 Head sold the company to the AMF, and took up tennis. He later bought a controlling interest in Prince Sports.

In the late 1960s, a tennis division was created when Howard Head figured out a way of strengthening the tennis racket by introducing the aluminium frame. The idea became a success and was first introduced in the 1969 US Open. After Howard Head's departure, one of the tennis players that Head sponsored, Arthur Ashe, won Wimbledon, defeating favored Jimmy Connors in 1975. Also during the 1970s, Head acquired a diving manufacturer, Mares, and a ski binding company, Tyrolia. While under AMF ownership, Head manufactured tennis racquets in Boulder, Colorado, and Kennelbach, Austria. Also in 1969, Head signed Olympic champion ski racer Jean-Claude Killy to endorse a new metal and fiberglass ski, the Killy 800. Head subsequently developed an entire product line of Killy skis.

In 1985, Minneapolis-based Minstar Inc. acquired Head through hostile takeover of AMF.[4] Two years later, Head started making athletic footwear, and introduced the "Radial Tennis Shoes". The following year, Head opened a new plant in Austria in order to produce more tennis rackets. In 1989, management bought out Head, Tyrolia, and Mares, to form HTM. The takeover was backed by private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co. In 1993, HTM was sold to tobacco conglomerate Austria Tabak. Johan Eliasch, the current chairman, took over the company in 1995, which in 2014 was a Netherlands Antilles corporation.[5]

In 1997, Head created the first titanium and graphite tennis racket. Over the next two years, Head acquired three more companies, DACOR, BLAX, and Penn Racquet Sports. Penn tennis balls are used in many high-profile tournaments worldwide, while Penn racquetballs are the official balls of the IRT and U.S. Racquetball Association. Penn once produced tennis balls and racquetballs in Phoenix, Arizona. In March 2009, Head shut down the Penn ball manufacturing factory. Now all tennis balls are produced in China.

Head also licenses its brand to makers of clothing apparel (including shoes), accessories, bicycles, skates, watches, balls and fitness Equipment.[6]

Head proved to be successful in 2012, with three Major winners during the year: Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova at the French Open and Andy Murray at the US Open.[7]

Is was reported on January 17,2019 that Head has purchased ASE assets.[8] ASE is the owner of Fuji Bikes, Breezer Bikes, SE Bikes, Kestrel Bikes, Tuesday Bikes, PHAT Bikes, Oval, Performance Bicycle Stores and Nasbar. On January 22, 2019 it was reported that Head Sports backed out of the deal to buy ASE.[9]

Head athletesEdit

Alpine Skiing World CupEdit



Notable former skiersEdit