Puma CEO Franz Koch Steps Down After Brief Tenure Amid Slow Sales
Puma CEO FRANZ KOCH is leaving the company "as owner PPR, the French retail group, implements a turnaround strategy at the German sports goods maker," according to Wilson & Daneshkhu of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Puma yesterday said Koch will depart in March "by mutual agreement." PPR Managing Dir and Puma Chair JEAN-FRANCOIS PALUS said that he "hoped to find a new chief executive by next spring." The departure comes as Puma "has struggled to keep pace with arch-rival Adidas, based in the same German town." The 34-year-old Koch "joined Puma in 2007 and after being named as strategy head in 2008 took over as chief executive in July last year from JOCHEN ZEITZ, who oversaw the brand’s revival." Zeitz himself "stood down as Puma’s chairman at the beginning of this month." Puma COO KLAUS BAUER and CMO ANTONIO BERTONE had "already said in July they would leave at the end of the year." Puma’s "rapid expansion over the past decade, principally under Mr Zeitz, has come at the expense of profitability, as support functions, such as marketing and IT systems have failed to keep up with its growth" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/13). REUTERS' Sheahan & Bryan noted PPR said that Puma "was not spending enough on products, which has seen it lag rivals in bringing out new high-tech running and soccer shoes." One sector analyst said, "This is the closing chapter on Zeitz's legacy. They are starting all over" (REUTERS, 12/12). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Cruz & Roberts cited German publication Manager Magazin as reporting Puma named former adidas Manager ANDY KOEHLER COO. adidas Corporate Communications Dir KATJA SCHREIBER "confirmed" the hire (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/13).