Jan 18, 2016
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Adidas names Henkel's Rorsted to replace Hainer as CEO

Jan 18, 2016

German sportswear firm Adidas has appointed Henkel's Kasper Rorsted as its new chief executive after the 53-year-old Dane succeeded in cutting costs and boosting profits during an eight-year reign at the consumer goods group.

Rorsted, who will leave Henkel in April, will take charge of Adidas on Oct. 1, replacing Herbert Hainer, 61, who has headed the sportswear maker since 2001 as the longest-serving boss of a leading German company.

Kasper Rorsted - Henkel

Adidas shares jumped 9.8 percent by 1109 GMT, heading for their biggest one-day gain in more than seven years, while Henkel was down 3.8 percent.

Hainer had come under fire as Adidas has lost market share to Nike, particularly in the key U.S. market, prompting the board last year to launch a search for a successor.

Investors had hoped Adidas would appoint an external candidate, believing an outsider might be more likely to take tough decisions to boost profitability and potentially sell more non-core businesses, such as fitness brand Reebok.

Since Rorsted took over at Henkel in 2008, shares in the maker of Schwarzkopf hair care products and Loctite glue have more than tripled, while its annual sales have grown by more than a third to around 18 billion euros estimated for 2015.

In November, Henkel posted a larger than expected rise in third-quarter profit as sales in North America and Russia more than offset weakness in its Chinese adhesives business.

Rorsted has a reputation as a cost cutter who helped restructure Henkel, but faced challenges in the United States, the company's biggest market, where competition from the likes of Procter & Gamble and Unilever is fierce.

In response, Rorsted, who says he spends 200 days of the year traveling, has overhauled management in the U.S. market, where Henkel has also launched products popular in Europe -- Persil laundry detergent and Schwarzkopf shampoo.

Rorsted, who is known as a keen skier and fan of soccer club Bayern Munich, is married with four children and his family already live in Munich, meaning he will have less far to commute to his new job in the northern Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach.

Henkel board member Hans Van Bylen, who is responsible for Henkel's Beauty Care business, will take over as Henkel CEO on May 1, the company said, adding it would name a successor for Van Bylen in due course.

Henkel said Van Bylen, 54, would be responsible for the development of the Henkel strategy for 2017-2020 which would be communicated by the end of the year.

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