Adidas’s Danish CEO of the last seven years, Kasper Rorsted, is set to step down in 2023 to “pave the way for a restart,” according to the company. There were high hopes for Rorsted when he joined Adidas, having achieved record revenues at soap and detergent maker Henkel AG. His focus on e-commerce gained him the title of CEO of the year in 2019 in Germany’s Manager magazine. However, a recent fall in both profits and the company’s stock price have made people question his choices.
One major stakeholder, Ingo Speich of Deka Investment in Frankfurt, explained “The issue at Adidas is product development, brand recognition.” The CEO needs to be more in tune with what the creative team is up to, “and Rorsted is not the manager to do that,” he added.
The sportswear company is now looking for a new CEO that will help it rebrand, while also keeping on top of finances. Sports apparel remains popular following the loungewear boom of the pandemic, but shares of several sportswear brands, such as Nike, Puma and Lululemon, have dipped following last year’s height.
Adidas, alongside other clothing and footwear brands, continues to struggle with supply chain disruptions. Meanwhile, consumers are putting more pressure than ever on companies to promote more sustainable operations, asking for transparent supply chains and strong environmental practices.
Some question whether Eric Liedtke – the man behind West, Williams, and Beyoncé collaborations and environmental initiatives like using recycled ocean plastic in shoes – will take Rorsted’s place as the next Adidas CEO. But as he left the company last year to start his own range of casual wear, Unless Collective, the outlook is uncertain.