adidas appointed Bjørn Gulden, the CEO of rival Puma, as its new Chief Executive. He will take over the German sportswear brand in January as the company weathers the fallout from its split with rapper Ye formerly known as Kanye West.
Gulden will replace Kasper Rorsted, adidas’ CEO since 2016, whose departure was announced in August. adidas had stated that Rorsted would hand over during the course of next year but recently added that he and the supervisory board mutually agreed that he will step down and leave the company on Friday.
Chief Financial Officer Harm Ohlmeyer will head adidas until the end of the year, taking the helm temporarily after the company ended a partnership with Ye late last month amid increasing outcry over the rapper’s offensive and anti-Semitic remarks.
adidas, which followed other companies in cutting ties with Ye, is expected to take a hit of up to $250 million to its net income this year from the decision to immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and is left searching for another star to help it compete with rival Nike.
Gulden, a 57-year-old Norwegian who was once a professional soccer and handball player has been Puma’s CEO since 2013. He has worked at adidas before and was the senior vice president of apparel and accessories from 1992 to 1999.
Moreover, he also served as CEO of Danish jewelry brand Pandora, Managing Director of footwear retailer Deichmann and president of Rack Room Shoes, and is board chairman at Danish food retailer Salling Group.
“Gulden knows the industry extremely well and draws on a rich network in sport and retail. As CEO of Puma, he reinvigorated the brand and led the company to record results. Bjørn Gulden will head Adidas into a new era of strength and is looking very much forward to successful cooperation” said Thomas Rabe, Board Chairman, adidas supervisory.
Puma, which like adidas is based in the southern German town of Herzogenaurach, will replace Gulden as its CEO, said Arne Freundt, Chief Commercial Officer.