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Adidas Beefs Up Management as It Seeks to Revive Fortunes

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German sportswear firm Adidas has appointed two new senior managers as part of an ongoing overhaul of its top leadership aimed at making the firm quicker to respond to consumer trends to keep up with bigger rival Nike.

Adidas footballs | Source: Reuters

BERLIN, Germany — German sportswear firm Adidas has appointed two new senior managers as part of an ongoing overhaul of its top leadership aimed at making the firm quicker to respond to consumer trends to keep up with bigger rival Nike.

Adidas said Karen Parkin, a 49-year-old British national, would take over as chief human resources officer from Nov. 1, reporting directly to Chief Executive Herbert Hainer.

Parkin joined Adidas in 1997 and has been in charge of the company’s global supply chain since 2013 after nine years working in North America. She replaces Matthias Malessa, who left the company at the end of July.

Adidas said Jan Brecht, a 42-year-old who joined Adidas from German carmaker Daimler in 2009, would add Parkin’s supply chain function to his current role as chief information officer, and report in future to Glenn Bennett, the executive board member responsible for global operations.

Adidas, accused of being too slow to react to fast-changing fashion and sport trends, said it hoped that bringing together the supply chain and information technology functions will help simplify and accelerate processes.

“The sporting goods and lifestyle market is in permanent flux. Speed will be a significant advantage which ensures that the group’s products reach consumers faster,” Adidas said in a statement.

Hainer, facing investor discontent after a series of profit warnings, has overhauled top management in the last year, appointing Eric Liedtke as global head of brands, Roland Auschel as head of global sales and Mark King as new head of the struggling North America business.

Those three leaders have been working with Hainer on a new strategic plan expected early next year and restructuring their own teams, naming 11 new direct reports in recent months.

Hainer, who has been CEO since 2001, had his contract extended until 2017 earlier this year to allow the company to work on a succession plan, but some investors believe a change at the top should come sooner than that.

By Emma Thomasson; editor: Louise Heavens.

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