West News Wire: The long-running rivalry between the two German sportswear manufacturers has a new chapter thanks to Adidas’ hiring of Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden as its new CEO.
Before joining Puma, where he has been CEO since 2013, the 57-year-old Norwegian was senior vice president of apparel and accessories at Adidas in the 1990s.
In Herzogenaurach, a Bavarian town 22 kilometers (13 miles) northwest of Nuremberg, both Adidas and Puma have their headquarters. Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, two rivalrous brothers, launched the businesses in the late 1940s.
Thomas Rabe, head of the Adidas supervisory board, said in a statement on Tuesday that Bjorn Gulden “brings approximately 30 years of experience in the sporting goods and footwear business.” “As a result, he knows the industry extremely well and draws on a rich network in sport and retail.”
“As CEO of Puma, he re-invigorated the brand and led the company to record results,” Rabe said.
Gulden previously had led Danish jewelry brand Pandora and held senior positions at companies that included shoe retailer Deichmann and clothing and sport equipment company Helly Hansen.
His boardroom experience builds upon his life on the pitch.
He played football professionally for Nuremberg in Germany’s Bundesliga as well as for Bryne and Stromsgodset in the Norwegian Premier League. He also played handball for Haslum in Norway’s first league.
Gulden, who has been given a five-year contract, will start his new position on January 1.
Tuesday’s announcement ended months of uncertainty after Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted and the firm’s supervisory board mutually agreed in August that he would leave the company as of this Friday.
Puma, meanwhile, announced that Arne Freundt, the company’s chief commercial officer, would take over as CEO with immediate effect.
The two companies were set up after a falling-out by the Dassler brothers, and they remain among the best known global sports brands.