Adidas has extended the appointment of CFO Harm Ohlmeyer by another three years to the beginning of 2028. The move could help the retailer maintain stability as it prepares to make changes to its core focus and explore ways to make up the sales it lost since cutting ties with Ye , formerly known as Kanye West, in October 2022.
The retailer will reportedly “invest in more sports, and be wider again than we have been, because that is also the DNA of this company,” said Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Adidas in an interview with Reuters. He stood by the company’s decision to cut ties with Ye following the antisemitic comments the artist made on social media, but also acknowledged that the value of the Yeezy brand had been a major profit driver.
Termination of the partnership was a major driver behind a 1% revenue drop and a €724 million ($765.9 million) operating loss in Q4 2022. In particular, the loss of the Yeezy line led to sales growth of just 6% in the major North America market — anemic when compared with strong results for Latin America (+47%), Asia-Pacific (+16%) and EMEA (+12%). China also weighed heavily on profits, with sales down 50% due to a “challenging market environment, company-specific challenges as well as significant inventory takebacks.”
Ohlmeyer will play a key role in Adidas finding its new direction as it seeks to make up for lost sales. “I have known Harm for many years,” said Gulden in a statement. “We even worked together at Adidas in the 90’s. He brings exactly the knowledge, experience and attitude that we need to turn things around. I really look forward to partnering with him and making Adidas the best sports brand in the world once again.”
Additionally, Brian Grevy, Executive Board Member responsible for Global Brands, has left the company. Gulden will assume responsibility for the role, taking more direct control over Adidas’ product and marketing activities. Arthur Hoeld, Managing Director of EMEA, also will join the Executive Board as the director responsible for Global Sales.
As of April 1, the company’s new Executive Board will consist of Bjørn Gulden (CEO and Global Brands), Arthur Hoeld (Global Sales), Harm Ohlmeyer (CFO), Amanda Rajkumar (Global Human Resources, People and Culture) and Martin Shankland (Global Operations).
Adidas’s new approach will still include partnerships with athletes and celebrities, according to Gulden. Additionally, the initial hit the brand took after dropping Ye could eventually give way to a goodwill-driven sales increase. Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick ad campaign in 2018 helped pave the way for the retailer to build immense loyalty among its Gen Z shoppers, and Adidas also could benefit from choosing to take a stand over pursuing sales.