Adidas CEO Shares Worries Over Brexit’s Rippling Economic Impact

With less than 10 weeks before Brexit is scheduled to take effect, the head of one of the world’s largest sportswear companies is expressing concerns over the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union.

In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted shared that the company’s “biggest concern” is the “impact of a potential Brexit because it’s very often discussed as an isolated event, but it will have an overall impact on the European economy.”

He added that the continent as a whole represents about 30 percent of the company’s business. “We’re getting most or entirely all of our growth outside Europe,” Rørsted said, calling on British lawmakers to open the door to a second referendum that would give voters an opportunity to vote on the Brexit question once again.

“It’s unrealistic to believe that the European and English economy will not be negatively impacted by Brexit,” Rørsted said in a November interview with FN. “Anyone who would state something different will simply be against facts. It will impact any industry, including ours.”

In its last earnings report, Adidas upgraded its profit guidance for the year but cut its revenue target due to lower-than-expected growth in Western Europe. Britain’s withdrawal from the political and economic union, which would impact trade agreements with European partners as well as fears of a global economic slowdown, have weighed on consumer confidence and business investments in the region.

“You can’t prepare for the fundamental economic setup of the EU,” Rørsted warned in the FN interview. “What you can prepare for is a different distribution methodology, so right now we’re building warehouse capabilities in the U.K. Any global company dealing with the U.K. will have that issue, and every U.K. company that deals with the rest of Europe will have that issue. It’s one of the most unwise political decisions in the last 30 years.”

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