Puma’s Bjorn Gulden will head rival Adidas from Jan. 1

Puma’s Bjorn Gulden will head rival Adidas from Jan. 1

Bjorn Gulden, who has led Puma beginning around 2013, will move to the sportswear creator’s greater opponent, Adidas, as CEO from Jan. 1, Adidas said on Tuesday, supplanting current CEO Kasper Rorsted, who is set to step down earlier than planned in the midst of mounting issues at the organization.

“During his time as CEO of Puma, he revitalised the brand and led the company to record results,” said Adidas supervisory board chairman Thomas Rabe. “The Supervisory Board is firmly convinced that Bjorn Gulden will lead Adidas into a new era of strength.”

Adidas has been searching for a successor to Rorsted, who had at first wanted to leave his post in 2023, since August. With Gulden’s appointment, Rorsted is currently set to step down and leave the organization this week, while CFO Harm Ohlmeyer will lead the organization in the interim until Dec. 31.

Gulden needed to leave his CEO position at Puma with prompt impact with the decision to move to Adidas; Arne Freundt was named the head of Puma with quick impact on Tuesday.

There is clearly no clause in Gulden’s agreement that would have prevented a direct move to the competition after it expired.

Freundt, who has worked for Puma for more than 10 years and was elevated to chief commercial officer last year, had been declared as Gulden’s successor last week, though with a planned beginning date of Jan. 1.

Issues have been mounting at Adidas, what cut its full-year forecast the month before. There had been signs in the spring that business in China wouldn’t get again until further notice, with a boycott against Western fashion brands having a long-lasting effect, and the organization likewise faces one-off impacts from its exit from Russia because of the war in Ukraine.

Adidas likewise finished its partnership with the artist previously known as Kanye West last month, which it said would have a “short-term negative impact” of as much as 250 million euros on net income this year.