Adidas announced on November 4 that it is in talks with Puma’s soon-to-departed chief executive officer, Bjorn Gulden, as the German sportswear giant looks for a successor to replace Kasper Rorsted as its chief executive in 2023.
The news, reported by several media outlets on Friday, comes after Rorsted, who has lead Adidas since 2016, announced his departure in August, adding he plans to leave Adidas sometime next year, after a successor is officially appointed.
At the same time Puma chief Gulden is ending his tenure at the fellow German sportswear company. Gulden’s membership on Puma’s board expires at the end of 2022, and Puma on Thursday announced that Arne Freundt would be taking his place as chief executive.
Freundt, who has worked for Puma for over 10 years and was promoted to CCO last year, will receive a four-year contract.
Adidas confirmed the talks with Gulden as a potential successor but declined to give further details. Puma declined to comment.
“Adidas AG confirms that it is in talks with Bjørn Gulden, CEO of PUMA SE, as a potential successor to adidas AG CEO Kasper Rorsted,” said Adidas in a press release.
Germany’s Manager Magazin, which first reported the move, said Gulden could not switch directly to Adidas due to a competition clause in his contract. As a result, Adidas chief finance officer Harm Ohlmeyer would likely lead the company in the interim.
In its most recent trading update on October 20, Adidas, cut its full-year forecast, citing weaker expectations for China, lower demand in major Western markets and one-off expenses related to its exit from the Russian market.
Last month, Adidas also ended its partnership with the artist formerly known as Kanye West. The company said the severed ties would have a “short-term negative impact” of up to 250 million euros (US$248.5 million) on net income this year.