Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko will assumer her new responsibilities at Marimekko in April.Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko will take over the reins at Marimekko, the iconic design firm announced on Thursday. The 33-year-old Alahuhta-Kasko holds a master's degree in economics and has been employed with Marimekko since 2005, most recently as chief operating officer.

The board of directors of Marimekko resolved to appoint Alahuhta-Kasko as president on Wednesday.

“I am delighted that our new president comes from within the company,” Mika Ihamuotila, the current president at the design firm, states in a press release.

Alahuhta-Kasko is the oldest child of Matti Alahuhta, a former long-term chief executive at the lift and escalator manufacturer Kone.

Pekka Lundmark, the board chairman at Marimekko, has previously announced that he will not seek re-election as board chairman. Ihamuotila, in turn, has declared his interest in the position of board chairman as well as his willingness to step down as president.

In addition, Ihamuotila will assume responsibility for the development and implementation of the strategy of Marimekko along with the president and the management group. His appointment as board chairman will be considered at Marimekko's general meeting in April.

Both appointments will become effective as of the conclusion of the general meeting.

Alahuhta-Kasko will therefore formally take over as president of the design firm in April. The management group, however, will continue to regularly convene under the chairmanship of Ihamuotila to discuss “significant strategic matters,” according to Marimekko.

The past couple of years have been challenging for the traditional design firm. In 2013, the operating profits of Marimekko climbed only barely out of the red, while costs arising from its financing arrangements pushed its annual result one million euros into the red.

Last year, the design firm posted operating profits of nearly six million euros.

The value of Marimekko shares has dropped to below 10 euros after peaking at 17 in 2012.

Alahuhta-Kasko will become only the second female president of a listed company in Finland. A survey conducted by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in November shows that Nina Kopola of Suominen, is currently the only female president of the 119 listed companies in the country.

Juhani Saarinen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Marimekko