Adidas poached CEO of turnaround rival Puma

CNN Business

Adidas has appointed head Puma will succeed outgoing chief executive Kasper Rorsted, betting on his ability to replicate the comeback of his cross-city rival.

Norwegian Bjørn Gulden, 57, will become chief executive of Adidas (ADDDF) on January 1, 2023, the German sportswear brand said in a statement on Tuesday.

The company’s shares rose about 1 percent in Frankfurt. The news, which was widely expected after Adidas confirmed it was in talks with Gulden on Friday, sent its shares up 20%.

Gulden, who has been Puma’s chief executive since 2013, has been credited with turning a profit at the smaller sports company, which posted its highest-ever quarterly sales between July and September.

He led the apparel and accessories business at Adidas for seven years in the 1990s. He is a professional football and handball player, former CEO of Danish jewellery brand PANDY and chairman of the Salling Group, Denmark’s largest food retailer.

“We are delighted to welcome Bjørn Gulden back to adidas. [He] Nearly 30 years of experience in the sporting goods and footwear industry,” Adidas Chairman Thomas Rabe said in a statement. “As CEO of Puma, he has reinvigorated the brand and led the The company achieved record results,” Rabe added.

Gulden took over as Adidas’ home market of Germany slumped further and inflation began to weigh heavily on global consumer spending. Last month, the company cut its financial guidance for the year and told investors it needed to ramp up promotions due to lower store traffic in Greater China and lower demand in Western markets since early September.

After ending a lucrative partnership with Ye, also known as Kanye West, the company will also suffer a 250 million euro ($247 million) fourth-quarter sales hit due to anti-Semitic remarks made by the rapper the blow. Last year, Yeezy products brought in nearly $2 billion in sales for Adidas, or 8 percent of the company’s total revenue, according to Morgan Stanley. The line has helped Adidas attract new customers and gain more shelf space in stores.

Adidas said Rosted will leave the company by mutual agreement this weekend. CFO Harm Ohlmeyer will lead Adidas until Gulden takes over.

Adidas and Puma, both based in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, were founded in 1948 by feuding brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler.

– Julia Horowitz and Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.

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