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Former Puma chief Bjørn Gulden to become CEO of Adidas

By Rachel Douglass

Nov 8, 2022


Image: Puma, Bjørn Gulden (Photo by Christoph Maderer/Puma)

Adidas has announced that Bjørn Gulden will be taking on the role of chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2023, succeeding the German company’s current chief, Kasper Rorsted.

Rumours of the appointment circulated early last week after Puma announced Gulden would be stepping down as its CEO.

Following the announcement, Adidas confirmed that it had been in discussions with Gulden to potentially take the position on.

In a new statement, the sportswear giant said its former CEO, Rorsted, has agreed with its supervisory board that he will exit the company by November 11, 2022.

Chief financial officer of Adidas, Harm Ohlmeyer, will lead the company in the interim until December 21.

Gulden had been CEO at rival company Puma since 2013, prior to which he had served a tenure at Adidas in a number of senior roles throughout 1992 to 1999.

He has also held executive positions at the likes of Danish jewellery brand Pandora, as well as footwear retailers Deichmann and Rack Room Shoes.

He further serves as chairman of the board of Salling Group, a Danish food retailer.

In a statement from Adidas, the brand’s chairman of the supervisory board, Thomas Rabe, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Bjørn Gulden back at adidas. Bjørn Gulden brings almost 30 years of experience in the sporting goods and footwear industry.

“As a result, he knows the industry extremely well and draws on a rich network in sport and retail. Bjørn Gulden already served adidas successfully for seven years in the 1990s.

“As CEO of Puma, he re-invigorated the brand and led the company to record results. The supervisory board of Adidas is convinced that Bjørn Gulden will lead Adidas into a new era of strength and is looking very much forward to a successful cooperation.”

Rabe further thanked Rorsted for his work at the company, crediting him with strategically repositioning the brand and accelerating digital transformation.

Arne Freundt to be appointed Puma CEO immediately

Upon the announcement, Puma confirmed that Arne Freundt is to immediately become CEO and chairman of the management board for Puma.

The sportswear brand initially said Freundt would succeed Gulden on January 1, 2023.

However, it has since changed its stance following Adidas’ announcement, pushing forward Freundt’s entry date.

Prior to his appointment, Freundt served as Puma’s chief commercial officer, with his position at the helm of the company to revolve around further accelerating the company’s momentum.