Puma CEO Franz Koch will step down at the end of March 2013

Puma CEO Franz Koch will step down at the end of March 2013

German sportswear firm Puma is parting company with its chief executive Franz Koch as it ramps up plans to restructure its business.

Koch, who is said to be leaving by mutual consent, will step down next March - less than two years after taking up the post. He will also resign as a member of the group executive committee of PPR, the main shareholder in Puma.

The news of his departure follows the resignation of chairman Jochen Zeitz in November

Jean-François Palus, chairman of the administrative board of Puma, said the company hopes to hire a new CEO by the spring to help "pursue the reorganisation of the company, focus on product innovation and marketing," and develop the brand.

Puma has been hit hard by the economic slowdown in Europe and curbs in consumer spending.

Last year it took the first steps towards restructuring its European operations, rationalising its retail portfolio and reorganising its global operations. The company is also planning to downsize its product range by 30% before the end of 2015.

Despite these efforts, Puma saw its third-quarter net earnings plunge 85.1% to EUR167.7m (US$218.5m), largely due to EUR80m in one-off restructuring costs. However sales grew 6% to EUR892.2m.

"We are now going to write a new chapter for Puma," Palus said, adding: "I am fully confident in our ability to realise the huge potential of this iconic brand.”