Adidas Names Kasper Rorsted CEO, Hainer To Exit Firm Early

Adidas has named Kasper Rorsted chief executive officer following an extraordinary meeting of its supervisory board in Herzogenaurach, Germany, on Monday.

Danish-born Rorsted will join the company in August and will succeed Herbert Hainer on Oct. 1, after a two-month transition period.

Hainer, who has been with the company for 15 years but has recently come under fire as Adidas is struggling against larger competitors, is leaving the brand sooner than expected. His contract had originally been extended to the end of March 2017.

The 53-year-old Rorsted is currently CEO of consumer goods maker Henkel AG & Co., and according to Igor Landau, chairman of the supervisory board of Adidas AG, “the perfect candidate.”

“He has extensive international management experience, having held positions with high-caliber companies such as Oracle, Compaq and Hewlett Packard. For eight years, Kasper Rorsted has very successfully headed up Henkel, a DAX company that just like the Adidas group is known for its growth, internationality and sustainability,” Landau noted.

Hainer had come under pressure from investors last year after a string of profit warnings. The group ended a tough 2014 on a negative note, posting a loss in the year’s final quarter. Yet the German giant remained in a combative mood and in November 2015 raised full-year guidance for 2015 to a high-single-digit growth rate, following a better-than-expected performance in the third quarter.

While the group remains under pressure in America, where it’s been outplayed by rivals Nike and Under Armour, overall net sales rose 17.7 percent to 4.8 billion euros, or $5.3 billion, in the three months ending Sept. 30, logging the highest quarterly turnover the group has ever generated, according to the brand.

Net income for the period advanced 10.4 percent to 314 million euros, or $349 million, buoyed by growth at Adidas, Reebok and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf. The group is expected to report its full-year results for 2015 on March 3.

At Monday’s board meeting, Landau lauded Hainer for his accomplishments.

“[He] has done a tremendous job,” said Landau. “Under his leadership, Adidas group sales have tripled, net income and the number of employees have quadrupled, and the value of the company has increased from 3 billion euros to 18 billion euros. Yet it is not only the financial metrics that are notable: Under Herbert Hainer, Adidas has become one of the most sustainable corporations in Europe and one of the world’s most attractive employers.”

Rorsted is to join the company on Aug. 1 as ordinary member of the executive board. The 61-year-old Hainer is to relinquish his executive board mandate on Sept. 30.

The news sent Adidas shares up 9.5 percent to 91.95 euros, or $100.30, at current exchange, in early-afternoon trading.

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