Fashion Victim

Adidas' Hainer, Germany's Longest-Serving Blue-Chip CEO, Comes Under Fire

Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer on June 24, 2014, at a company presentation. Source Reuters
Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer, Germany's longest-serving DAX chief executive, has come under pressure after a series of profit warnings.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Herbert Hainer is the longest-serving CEO of a DAX company. Despite a recent earnings slowdown, he appears to be secure in his job.

  • Facts


    • Adidas slashed its 2014 profit forecast on July 31 and its shares fell by 13 percent.
    • Some shareholders have called for a change in management, but the Adidas board backs Mr. Hainer.
    • Mr. Hainer has been CEO since March 2001, and orchestrated the purchase of rival Reebok.
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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.

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