SBD/October 22, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Adidas Group Creates Joint Operating Model For Adidas, Reebok Brands In North America

adidas Group yesterday announced it is uniting the Reebok and adidas brands under one management team in North America. adidas North America President PATRICK NILSSON has been promoted to adidas Group North America President and will lead the newly united organization. He also will assume global responsibility for Reebok-CCM Hockey. Portland will remain the home of the adidas brand in the U.S. and the Reebok brand will continue to be based in Canton, Mass. (adidas). In Boston, Taryn Luna reports Reebok North America President ULI BECKER yesterday left the company "after his job was eliminated in an executive reorganization." adidas said that Becker "departed to pursue other opportunities" and added that "no other executives left the company as a result of the reorganization." Becker spent 23 years at Reebok, and was promoted from CMO to President & Chief Exec in '08. But the chief exec position "was cut last year." The company also said that it plans to "add a new position" next year, with current Reebok Brand Dir for South Korea CHRIS WALDECK to take on the role of U.S. Brand Dir (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/22).

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sara Germano noted Reebok in recent years has "begun to reposition itself to place more focus on the fitness and lifestyle businesses." SportsOneSource analyst MATT POWELL said that the Reebok acquisition "has been a sore spot" for adidas. Powell: "The acquisition has to be a huge embarrassment for Adidas every day" (WSJ.com, 10/21). In Portland, Allan Brettman wrote the move, while "reaffirming Nilsson's valued status within Adidas' organization, raises numerous questions." Top of the list is "whether one of the two entities would be shuttered in a cost-savings move and combined at the other's location." But the company yesterday "reaffirmed its commitment to Adidas in Portland" (OREGONLIVE.com, 10/21). adidas spokesperson LAUREN LAMKIN in an e-mail wrote, "Each location has a unique and powerful culture grounded in the values and goals of each brand." In Portland, Matthew Kish noted adidas employs "roughly 850" at its HQs, while Reebok employs "roughly 1,000 in Canton." The change in management structure "is not expected to affect the location of those employees" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/21).
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