CEO Change

From Henkel to Adidas

Rorsted Henkel - Reuters
Kasper Rorsted is a CEO in demand.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Kasper Rorsted has developed a reputation as a turnaround specialist after eight years in charge of Henkel. Investors are hoping he might have the same touch with Adidas.

  • Facts


    • Kasper Rorsted, 53, has been with Henkel since 2005 and led the company as chief executive since 2008.
    • Mr. Rorsted will be replaced in May by Hans van Bylen, the current head of Henkel’s Beauty Care division who has been with the company since 1984.
    • Even before Monday’s announcement, Mr. Rorsted had been linked with German sportswear maker Adidas, currently led by Herbert Hainer.
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If the share price developments Monday are anything to go by, Kasper Rorsted is the kind of man who can really impact a company’s fortunes.

In a surprise announcement, German consumer goods maker Henkel on Monday said its Danish chief executive will step down by the end of April. But there was another German retail company that seemed to be eagerly awaiting the news. Less than two hours later, Adidas announced Mr. Rorsted will take over the leadership of the sportswear maker in October.

The news sent Henkel’s preference shares tumbling, down nearly 5 percent in morning trading in Frankfurt, and making them the biggest decliner in Germany’s blue-chip DAX index. Adidas shares surged nearly 10 percent by 12:30 local time, making it the DAX’s biggest winner.

There is hope that Mr. Rorsted, a popular leader who by most accounts has revived Henkel’s fortunes over his last eight years in charge, will now work his magic at the struggling sportswear manufacturer.

“It is a very good decision, because Mr. Rorsted can do at Adidas what he has done at Henkel: increase profitability,” Ingo Speich, a fund manager from Germany’s Union Investment, which owns 1.2 percent of Adidas shares, told Handelsblatt Global Edition.

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