Adidas CEO

Playing Catch-Up

Hainer-Getty Images
Thinking hard about the next move. Source. Getty Images
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The traditional German sporting gear company needs the U.S. market to grow, and is stepping up efforts to tackle American giant Nike and upstart Under Armour.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Adidas ranks third in the U.S. sports goods market, behind Nike and Under Armour.
    • Mark King became new chief of the North America business in June 2014.
    • The German company makes almost a quarter of its revenue in the U.S.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Herbert Hainer, 60, has been at the helm of Adidas since March 2001. The sales specialist left consumer goods company Procter&Gamble in 1987 to join the sportswear company . He was appointed to Adidas management board in 1997.

Handelsblatt: In 2014, the Adidas share was the worst performer in German blue chip stock market index DAX. Is that the end of Adidas’ golden age?

Indeed, we faced several problems in 2014 in the golf business and in the United States, and the currency turmoil hit us, too. But many things have turned out positive nevertheless.

It looks like investors haven’t noticed that.

We’re a high-growth company. In 2014, the Adidas brand grew by 11 percent, Reebok by 5 percent. Both brands together account for 90 percent of our business. Of course, the world soccer championship was a big boost.

If business wasn’t so bad, then why the share price plunge?

For 12 years, we were the industry’s and media’s darling. Then we adjusted the profit forecast twice. That, of course, was a disappointment – for us as well. We have to admit some things we didn’t do well enough.

Was it a mistake to invest so heavily in Russia?

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