FREE TO BE AT ADIDAS: Adidas has revealed that Vicky Free will be joining the company at the start of the new year as senior vice president of global marketing.
She will be based at the activewear giant’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
With more than 20 years of professional experience with data-driven companies like Disney, Free will have global responsibility to oversee and navigate Adidas’ commercial and brand success by developing what the company described as “compelling consumer brand stories.”
Free will report to Brian Grevy, an executive board member of Adidas AG, who is responsible for global brands.
An Adidas spokesman declined to comment Thursday when asked whose responsibilities Free is assuming. A few of the company’s leading executives have left in recent months. In late June after Adidas employees had repeatedly criticized her for a racially insensitive comment and asked management for an investigation into the matter, Karen Perkin, an executive board member responsible for global human resources, resigned. In August, Jon Wexler exited the company as vice president and general manager of Yeezy.
Previously, Free was senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Novant Health. Her leadership is “guided by the core values of innovation, data-driven decision making, collaboration and strategic diversity and inclusion,” according to Free’s LinkedIn profile.
Like its chief rival Nike, the senior management team at Adidas has been called upon by its employees to have more representation for Black communities. Last summer more than 1,600 employees at Adidas and Reebok signed a petition demanding change to ensure racial equality. The company held a virtual town hall meeting to address that and to discuss multiple initiatives to support the Black community and college students of color. Adidas’ leadership team has also committed to hiring more employees of color. The Adidas spokesman declined comment Thursday regarding whether Free plans to address the diversity issues that some employees at Adidas have complained about.
Free’s career has involved leading omnichannel marketing teams and crafting campaigns for such brands as the Walt Disney Company, McDonald’s, Time Warner, BET Networks and Viacom. Free earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina.