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November 8, 2022

Adidas appoints Puma chief Bjørn Gulden to CEO role

German sportswear brand Adidas has appointed Bjørn Gulden as its chief executive officer to succeed the outgoing Kasper Rorsted.

By Michelle Russell

Adidas has confirmed Bjørn Gulden, the current CEO of Puma, will take up the role of CEO on 1 January 2023 following speculation at the end of last week.

Gulden will also join the company’s executive board.

Rorsted and the supervisory board have mutually agreed that he will step down as CEO and leave the company on 11 November. Harm Ohlmeyer, chief financial officer of Adidas will lead the company in the interim until 31 December.

The supervisory board had announced a CEO transition in August and the start of a search for Rorsted’s successor. He has held the post at Adidas since 2016.

Chairman of the board, Thomas Rabe, explained that after three challenging years that were marked by the economic consequences of the pandemic and geo-political tensions, now was now the right time to initiate a CEO transition and pave the way for a restart.

“We are very pleased to welcome Bjørn Gulden back at Adidas,” he said today (8 November). “Bjørn Gulden brings almost 30 years of experience in the sporting goods and footwear industry. As a result, he knows the industry extremely well and draws on a rich network in sport and retail. Bjørn Gulden already served Adidas successfully for seven years in the 1990s. As CEO of Puma, he re-invigorated the brand and led the company to record results. The supervisory board of Adidas is convinced that Bjørn Gulden will head Adidas into a new era of strength and is looking very much forward to a successful cooperation.”

Gulden is 57 years old, Norwegian and has been CEO of Puma since 2013. During his tenure at Adidas he was senior vice president of apparel and accessories from 1992 to 1999. He has also held the posts of CEO of Danish jewellery brand Pandora, and managing director of Europe’s largest footwear retailer Deichmann.

Rabe thanked outgoing CEO Rorsted: “We would like to thank Kasper Rorsted for his major achievements at Adidas. He 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.

“In addition, Adidas has strengthened its leadership position in sustainability and increased diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the company. Following the successful divestiture of TaylorMade, CCM Hockey and Reebok the company is now able to focus its efforts on its core brand Adidas. We wish Kasper Rorsted all the best for his future endeavours.”

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