Adidas CEO Defends His Job

HainerFacing criticism about the future of Adidas, CEO Herbert Hainer won't step down. In an article in a German newspaper, Hainer admitted to losing sales to Nike and said "Suddenly, everything that was right for 12 years, was wrong."

Hainer has been CEO since 2001, and a succession plan is in progress, but some investors want to see a change sooner than 2017, when his contract ends. Pressure started back in September, when the company saw declining sales in soccer and Reebok products and after the stock had dropped 38% for the year.

Hainer admits mistakes in investing in the soccer market but says, "If I no longer had the ambition and the energy, and the firm belief that I can bring the company further forward, then I would stop immediately."

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of Hainer's decision to speak with the German newspaper? What other options does he have for conveying his point of view?
  • How do you think the Board feels about Hainer's position and his comments to the newspaper?
  • Do you find Hainer's comments convincing?