adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted is stepping down from his position at the German footwear giant, initiating the search for his replacement. (Succession, but make it sneakerhead?)
According to a press release published on August 22, Rorsted and the adidas board have "mutually agreed" that the executive will depart his post sometime in 2023, until his successor has been appointed.
"We would like to thank Kasper for his major achievements," Thomas Rabe, chairman of adidas' board, said in a statement. "During his tenure since 2016 he has strategically repositioned the company and fast-forwarded its digital transformation... 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."
Rorsted echoed Rabe's sentiments. "The past years have been marked by several external factors that disrupted our business significantly," he said. "This is why enabling a restart in 2023 is the right thing to do — both for the company and me personally."
The move comes shortly after adidas lowered its earnings guidance for 2022 due to continued COVID-related restrictions in China. The company also cited excess inventory as a challenge.
Rorsted — who previously helmed German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel AG & Co. — joined adidas in 2016, succeeding Herbert Hainer. In August 2020, adidas extended Rorsted's contract until July 31, 2026 — meaning his exit will come approximately three years earlier than expected.
Reacting to Highsnobiety's Instagram post announcing the news, some particularly passionate commenters suggested that adidas hire Kanye West — a collaborator and outspoken detractor of the company — to replace Rorsted.
"Kanye should become the next CEO. If it wasn’t for YE would we wear adidas ?," one user wrote. (Given the rapper's tendency to court controversy, plus his online outbursts at adidas, I'd go so far as to say that Ye-didas is most likely not happening.)