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August 23, 2022

Adidas seeks new chief after announcing Rorsted will step down next year

The Danish executive will leave three years before his contract was due to end.

By Susan Lingeswaran

Adidas, the German sportswear giant, is seeking a new chief executive after announcing that Kasper Rorsted will step down from the role next year – three years before his contract is due to end.

In a statement posted on its website, Adidas said Rorsted and the company’s board had “mutually agreed” he would hand over his position during 2023 and would remain in office until a successor was appointed.

Rorsted was appointed to the top role in 2016 succeeding long-time chief executive Herbert Hainer, who eventually became president of German soccer champions Bayern Munich in 2019.

He joined the company after serving as the chief executive of German chemical company Henkel for eight years and oversaw a turbulent period for Adidas, which included leading the company through the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Adidas extended his contract in 2020 to run until July 31, 2026.

Thomas Rabe, Adidas’ supervisory board chair, said: “After three challenging years that were marked by the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and geo-political tensions, it is now the right time to initiate a chief executive transition and pave the way for a restart.

“We are pleased that Kasper will ensure a smooth transition at the helm of the company during the upcoming months jointly with the supervisory board and executive board of Adidas AG.”

During his time at the helm, Rorsted led the company’s digital transformation, with Adidas’ online sales increasing fivefold during his tenure.

He also oversaw the sales of the company’s TaylorMade, Reebok, and CCM Hockey businesses as part of Adidas’ strategy to pivot more towards its core brand.

Before working as chief executive of Henkel, Rorsted served in a variety of roles for technology companies including Oracle, Compaq, and Hewlett Packard.

Rorsted said: “As a company, we have achieved great progress in strategic areas of our business. I am proud of our achievements as a team.

“The past few years have been marked by several external factors that disrupted our business significantly. It required huge efforts to master these challenges. This is why enabling a restart in 2023 is the right thing to do – both for the company and for me personally.

“Our business is heading in the right direction. We are growing double-digit in 85% of our business. In the months to come our focus will be to accelerate our growth as soon as all markets can operate without major disruptions.

“Together with the Adidas team, I am looking forward to realizing this growth and, jointly with the supervisory board, to ensuring a smooth transition at the helm of the company.”

Earlier this month, the Adidas Group reported a decline in its operating profit in the second quarter citing supply chain challenges, overseas pandemic-related restrictions, and its suspension of operations in Russia as contributing factors.

Rabe added: “We would like to thank Kasper for his major achievements. During his tenure since 2016, he has strategically repositioned the company and fast-forwarded its digital transformation.

“In North America, the world’s largest sporting goods market, Adidas has doubled its sales. Following the successful divestiture of TaylorMade, CCM Hockey, and Reebok, the company is now able to focus its efforts on its core brand Adidas.”

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