ADIDAS-SALOMON NAMES HAINER
Byline: James Fallon
LONDON — Adidas-Salomon AG Wednesday appointed Herbert Hainer as chairman and chief executive officer, effective March 8. He replaces Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who is credited with turning around the ailing sports brand in the Nineties, after acquiring the company with a group of investors.
Louis-Dreyfus, 64, announced plans last year to leave the group amid reports he was suffering from ill health. Also leaving Adidas-Salomon is Louis-Dreyfus’s right-hand man, Christian Tourres, currently deputy chairman. However, he is expected to be elected to the company’s supervisory board.
Hainer, 46, currently is chief operating officer of the company, a position that will be eliminated under the new structure. Following his appointment, the Adidas-Salomon executive board will be made up of Hainer; Glenn Bennett, who’s responsible for global operations; Manfred Ihle, overseeing legal and environmental affairs; Michel Perraudin, who is in charge of human resources; Robin Stalker, group financial officer, and Erich Stamminger, who heads global marketing.
Hainer joined Adidas in 1987 and became chief operating officer last year. Since that time, he’s overseen a drastic revamp at Adidas-Salomon, where the core Adidas brand has been struggling with out-of-fashion collections, poor sales in the U.S., an overly complicated supply chain and high overhead.
As reported, the program is aimed at cutting the group’s product range by 20 percent, reducing product lead times by 50 percent and boosting Adidas-Salomon’s presence on the Internet. Adidas-Salomon also has promoted Michael Michalsky to global creative director for the Adidas brand. Michalsky had been in charge of Adidas apparel and accessories.
The actions were expected to cut the group’s earnings per share by about 20 percent last year, but Hainer predicted they would increase earnings for the year ahead. Adidas-Salomon USA is expected to return to growth in the second half of the year.
Adidas-Salomon has yet to report its results for 2000. As reported, the company had a 21.7 percent drop in net profits to $151.8 million on a 6.8 percent rise in sales to $3.81 billion for the nine months ended Sept. 30.
Adidas was acquired by the investment group Sogedim SA of Belgium in 1993. Sogedim’s owners were led by Louis-Dreyfus, a former ceo of the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, and included Tourres, American lawyer Mary Friday, Thomas Russell and David Brimelow. The other Sogedim shareholders eventually sold their stakes in Adidas and Adidas-Salomon following the group’s stock market flotation in 1995.
Louis-Dreyfus and Tourres still own shares in Adidas-Salomon but they amount to less than 5 percent of the company, an Adidas-Salomon spokesman said.