BERLIN, 4 November (Reuters) – According to an industry source, Puma (PUMG.DE) CEO Bjorn Gulden will leave the German sportswear giant at the end of the year to become CEO of competitor Adidas (ADSGn.DE).
Puma stated on Friday that Chief Commercial Officer Arne Freundt will take over as CEO on January 1 after Gulden elected to let his contract run at the end of the year, but did not elaborate on Gulden’s plans.
Freundt, who has been with Puma for over a decade and was elevated to CCO last year, has been given a four-year deal.
Adidas announced on Friday that it is in discussions with Gulden about potentially removing CEO Kasper Rorsted.
Adidas has been hunting for a replacement for Rorsted, who expects to retire in 2023, since August.
Gulden could not transition immediately to Adidas owing to a competition provision in his contract, according to Germany’s manager magazin, adding that Chief Finance Officer Harm Ohlmeyer would likely oversee the firm in the meantime.
Adidas stock rose nearly 20% on the announcement.
“Bjorn Gulden had a very good reputation as Puma CEO, having been key to the company’s recovery and Puma’s strong brand heat,” Stifel analyst Cedric Lecasble said, adding that he might assist improve the Adidas brand’s momentum.
Adidas’ problems have lately become worse, with the company lowering its full-year outlook on Oct. 20, citing poorer forecasts for China, decreased demand in major Western countries, and one-time charges connected to its withdrawal from the Russian market.
Adidas also discontinued its association with the musician formerly known as Kanye West last month, citing a “short-term negative impact” on net profits of up to 250 million euros this year.
On Friday, global credit ratings agency Moody’s cut Adidas’ outlook to “negative” from “stable.