Herbert Hainer, who will turn 60 this year, may be young for a top chief executive in Germany. But he is also the longest-serving chief executive of a German DAX company, a youthful senior statesman of sorts who has guided Adidas’ dogged pursuit of industry leader Nike for 13 years.
But the American rival has remained elusively on top, and now, Adidas and Mr. Hainer are coming under pressure, pulled down by its struggling TaylorMade golf brand and slowing growth in Russia, a key market where a planned retail expansion has stalled amid the Ukraine unrest.
Even so, Adidas this year still plans to generate €650 million in profit. But the sneaker business has a young buying public, and Adidas’ management longevity itself is an issue for some investors.
Adidas shares plummeted 13 percent on July 31 after Adidas slashed its 2014 profit forecast.
“The current management team is very old and long established,” said Volker Bosse, an analyst in Munich at Baader Bank.