Bjørn Gulden 2

Puma’s Outgoing CEO Could Lead Rival Adidas Next

Adidas could snap up the boss of crosstown rival Puma to succeed outgoing CEO Kasper Rorsted.

As reported by CNN, the sportswear company said Friday that it’s in talks with Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden to step in as successor to Rorsted, who is due to depart some time in 2023.

Gulden, meanwhile, is set to leave Puma at the end of the year after nine years in the top job. Adidas announced in August that it was looking for a new CEO.

Rorsted has led Adidas since 2016. Last month, the company lowered its financial guidance for the year, telling investors it would need to ramp up sales promotions due to lower traffic in the Greater China region and a drop in demand in Western markets since the beginning September.

Investors ate up news of the potential talent shuffle between the German brands, both based in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach since they were founded in 1948 by feuding brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler.

Shares of Adidas shot up 20% in Frankfurt. The company’s stock has shed 56% year-to-date. Puma stock dipped less than 1%.

Adidas has recently been the subject of controversy over its relationship with Ye, also known as Kanye West.

It ended its partnership with the designer and rapper last month, emphasizing that it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” and calling recent comments by West “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”

Adidas said it will take a €250 million hit ($247 million) to its fourth quarter sales as a result. But the brand faced criticism for its delay in cutting ties. It initially put the relationship “under review.”

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