MCMULLIN JOINING ADIDAS AS NORTH AMERICA HEAD
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Adidas-Salomon AG has named Ross McMullin, a 20-year veteran of the consumer products industry, as president of Adidas America.
He will join the company on July 17 and will oversee all Adidas and Salomon operations in the North American market.
McMullin replaces Steve Wynne, who stepped down in March. During Wynne’s five years at the helm of Adidas America, company sales increased from $450 million to $1.6 billion. Sales of women’s activewear accounted for 12 percent of the brand’s $600 million apparel sales, but women made 50 percent of all purchases.
McMullin, 43, will be based at the company’s North American offices in Beaverton, Ore, where he will oversee a 600-plus member staff. He reports to Herbert Hainer, chief operating officer of Adidas-Salomon AG.
“Further expansion in the critical North American market is key to the future success of Adidas-Salomon’s business globally. We are determined to lead Adidas into a new phase of growth and increase our market share very soon,” Hainer said in a statement. “I am convinced that with Ross McMullin we have found the right person to spearhead this effort and that he will lead our business to new levels in North America.”
Having visited the U.S. offices about seven times in the past three months, he plans to spend more time here during the transition, an Adidas spokesman said.
“We have to fix a lot of things in the U.S. We have a pretty bad track record in basketball and we’re looking to improve our market share because we are number two,” in the U.S., the spokesman said.
Nike holds the market’s lion share of the U.S. market with 43 percent, followed by Adidas with 12.22 percent and Reebok with 12.01 percent, according to the Sporting Goods Intelligence.
In term of the women’s business in the U.S., he said, “We haven’t done a very good job in the women’s business. We’re underrepresented. It’s pretty obvious that’s something we have to look at more seriously than we have in the past.”
McMullin has not yet stepped down as president of the Gillette Group Central Europe. At different points during his career, he has served as president of Braun Canada, Oral B in the U.S. and Braun Europe. A native of Canada, he started his career at Peat, Marwick & Mitchell in Canada.
Adidas had no qualms about finding a new president from another industry.
“Ours is a very small industry. If we got someone from this industry, there are not too many to chose from,” the Adidas spokesman said.
“We want someone to lead the industry — and not just copy others — so there are even less to choose from.”
“It’s always good to have someone from the outside,” the spokesman said. “He [Ross] has worked with consumer goods even though he was not necessarily selling sport shoes for the last 20 years. It’s going to be refreshing. “
But some industry sources questioned how easily McMullin would make the transition from packaged goods to sporting goods.
One executive said, “The real question is, ‘How many different products has he dealt with?’ If he dealt mostly with razors, the product cycle is much longer — in some cases eight years. Athletic footwear is moving so fast now.”