Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted to Step Down in 2023; Will Remain Until Successor Is Named

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2022

Kasper Rorsted, chief executive officer of Adidas AG, poses for a photograph ahead of a Bloomberg Television interview in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Adidas is most concerned about a global trade war that could turn into a currency war, Rorsted said in the interview. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted will step down in 2023, the apparel company announced Monday.

"After three challenging years that were marked by the economic consequences of the COVID-19-pandemic and geo-political tensions, it is now the right time to initiate a CEO transition and pave the way for a restart," Adidas supervisory board chairman Thomas Rabe said in a statement.

Rorsted has been with Adidas since 2016 and signed a new five-year contract to remain with the company in 2020. However, Adidas has seen sales take a massive dip in the international markets since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement said Rorsted will remain in place until a successor is named. Adidas is expected to immediately begin its search.

"This is why enabling a restart in 2023 is the right thing to do — both for the company and me personally," Rorsted said in a statement.

Rorsted's tenure featured several successes, including the sale of the flailing Reebok brand and the massive expansion of the Yeezy collaboration with Kanye West. The Yeezy brand now brings in billions in annual revenue, though Adidas' relationship with West has frayed in recent months.

West called out Rorsted by name in ripping the company for what he described as "blatant" ripoffs of his slides line. The rapper also said Adidas' Yeezy Day holiday was launched without his approval and features designs he did not approve.

It's unclear if West's comments played a factor in Rorsted's departure, but it's never a good thing when a brand's most recognizable collaborator is taking to social media in frustration.

Deirdre Hipwell and Eyk Henning of Bloomberg also noted Rorsted has taken criticism for a lack of diverse hires during his tenure.

It's likely Rorsted would have been able to continue through the controversies if it were not for Adidas' underperformance on the stock market. The company's price has dropped about 37 percent in value this year, per Bloomberg.