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SGM hires Martin founder to run development

Paddy Baker 10 November 2010
SGM hires Martin founder to run development

Peter Johansen (right of picture), founder of Martin Professional, has been appointed a director of Italian lighting manufacturer SGM to lead the company’s product development programme.

The Dane has appointed “six or seven” members of his former development team to work in Aarhus, Denmark, where SGM’s R&D operations will now be based. Manufacturing will be moved to Thailand.

Known for his aggressive management style, Johansen founded Martin in 1987 and ran the company until 1998, since when he has been working outside the lighting industry.

SGM and RCF Group managing director Arturo Vicari (left of picture) said: “We got very lucky – we found a person who we couldn’t even imagine [we would find]. He’s probably the person who knows the business of light better than anyone.” He described Johansen as “the best genius that we have ever seen – he is one of the icons of the market.”

Johansen said: “We are starting from scratch with a new range of products… Our goal is to be the leader in cost-efficient products. We don’t want to be seen as the most expensive products on the market, we don’t want to be the cheapest, we just to want to make simple, standard, good efficient products that commercially can be threatened by nobody.”

“We are totally defocusing on China – everyone is using Chinese product and talking about China, and in my opinion [companies] doing that are making a huge mistake,” he continued.

“We want to be market leader in a couple of years – we have to be ready to invest,” commented Vicari. “We plan to have mass production ready for an April, May, June timeframe.”

Johansen said that SGM is in the process of registering six patents, for a product range will focus equally on architectural and entertainment lighting. The first product will be a new strobe light “that can do something you’ve never seen before”; also planned are LED panels, moving heads and an intelligent mirrorball. The range will be highlighted at Prolight + Sound next spring, although some of the products may also be shown at Italian trade shows beforehand.

Johansen had some harsh words for the lighting industry as a whole: “I was extremely disappointed about what has happened since I left the industry. I thought that when I came back there would be new technologies – brighter, smarter, faster, cheaper lamps – but they’re not out there. It seems like most of the important players in the industry are spending most of their time fighting each other over stupid patent issues that are only harming the industry and stopping development.”

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