There’s about to be a new leader in town at Adidas North America.
The company announced yesterday that Mark King — its president since 2014 — will hang up his hat this summer when Zion Armstromg, GM of Adidas North America since 2015, will take the reins.
While Adidas described the move as a “well-prepared, seamless transition,” the news has caught some industry insiders by surprise.
Here, FN offers some insight on the new president of Adidas North America.
He’s a “Young” President
At 43 years old, Armstrong is 16 years younger than his predecessor and 11 years shy of the average age, 54, of a CEO, according to market research firm Korn Ferry. (Although Armstrong is not a CEO at Adidas, there is no such role for the brand in the North American market, making president the chief rank.)
He’s From New Zealand
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Armstrong is one of 10 siblings and was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand.
He Worked His Way Up at Adidas For 20 Years
He first joined Adidas New Zealand as product manager for footwear in 1998. In 2002, he moved to the company’s headquarters in Germany. From 2005 to 2014, he held various leadership roles in Asia-Pacific including managing director Adidas South Korea. Since 2015, he has served as GM of Adidas North America.
He’s an Athlete
The new president of Adidas’s North American arm is an avid athlete and sports fan, according to the company. He competed in the IAAF World Junior Championships and the Commonwealth Games and is a former New Zealand record holder for 400-meter hurdles.
He Worked Closely With Predecessor Mark King
In announcing the July departure of King — who has been largely credited with orchestrating and sustaining the brand’s blockbuster North American resurgence in 2015 — Adidas said that Armstrong was worked closely with his predecessor, noting that the pair “co-led” the region together.
“We are very excited to promote [Armstrong] to one of the most important roles in our company,” said Roland Auschel, head of global sales and member of the executive board, in a statement Tuesday. “He has been instrumental to our success over the last three years …”
Mark King Is Not Completely Out of the Picture
Adidas confirmed that in the coming years, King will continue to serve as an advisor to the brand’s North America division.