Adidas Team Weighs In on Hainer

Uli Becker
President, Reebok International

“He’s tough and fair and straightforward, and he doesn’t hold back or wait a year-and-a-half to tell you things. And that’s a good thing. He believes in the results, and as much shoulder-slapping as you get when things are going well, if you are not living up [to your targets], you’ll hear about it in a constructive way. I think patience is not one of his strengths, but you hardly have that in the sports industry.”

Mark King
CEO & President, TaylorMade-Adidas Golf

“I’ve worked with Herbert for more than 10 years, and he’s everything that you see: He’s intense, he’s demanding, he’s very aggressive. The slogan ‘impossible is nothing’ fits Herbert to a T. He drives the group by setting these outrageous targets and by letting people achieve them. That’s his brilliance — his authentic belief that growth can come despite the economy. And beneath that really powerful demeanor is a really warm human being who cares about people, cares about his family, cares deeply about the people who work directly for him. And as hard as he may push and demand, you feel the empathy for the challenges he or anyone might face. He’s very human, he’s really down to earth and very approachable on just about anything. And no matter what I call him with, I know how he’s going to react. I may not like what’s going to happen, but I know what to expect [laughs]. He is who he is: He’s very consistent, and as a leader, it gives you a much better chance of success.”

Patrik Nilsson
President, Adidas North America

“Herbert is authentic: What you see is what you get, and you always know where you stand. He tells you when you do something right, and he tells you when you do something wrong. He calls a spade a spade, and I really appreciate that because it cuts through the clutter. He’s very direct and he’s very consistent. Is he uncomfortably direct? He can be, yeah. But the thing with him is that it’s not only about the business. He always asks about my family, we talk about sports. And maybe the one thing that I didn’t mention is he is not very patient. He wants results quickly. But I think that is good because otherwise you won’t have an organization that is responsive and fast — you will have an organization that is complacent.”

Jan Runau
Chief corporate communications officer, Adidas Group

“He knows what he wants and he tells people what he wants. But at the same time, he’s very approachable. Anybody can walk up to him to talk. He is very visible within the Adidas organization — it’s not that he’s always sitting there in his office. And Herbert is super-passionate about sports and business, and you can feel that in everything he does. He works in sports, and when he relaxes, he watches sport and he knows a lot about sports.”

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