Adidas has started the search for a new CEO as Kasper Rorsted has said he wants top step down. He will, however, stay at the helm until the search for a successor is over. It is time for a restart after three challenging years, he says about his early departure.
Rorsted will leave his position somewhere next year, the German sportswear brand announces in a press release. The search for a successor for Rorsted, whose contract was due to end only in 2025, has already started. Rorsted will, however, keep his position for a bit longer in order to ensure a smooth succession.
Rorsted has headed Adidas since 2016, starting an ambitious digitisation project that lead to strong results. The brand managed to raise its online sales by 400 % and double sales in North-America. Rorsted also made the – controversial – decision to sell its sneaker brand Reebok – at a loss in order to refocus fully on the main brand.
China and Russia
Rorsted’s decision was caused by the past three years, which have proved to be very challenging. Adidas’ results in China were disappointing as the Chinese economy recovers from the pandemic slower than expected. Moreover, a (temporary) boycott against Western brands that accused China of abusing Uyghurs in Xinjiang province also cost Adidas dearly.
Another setback was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which caused Adidas to halt all activities in Russia. The German company already had to issue a profit warning twice this year, meaning huge efforts are needed to face these challenges. A reboot in 2023 is therefore necessary, Rorsted said, “both for the company as for me personally”.