World Monitor Mag, Industrial Overview WM_November_2018_WEB_Version - Page 85

additional content Leading a сompany that wants to change lives through sports Inside the Mind of the CEO Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted explains how to align business strategy and execution during a shift in global consumer demand. by Ulrich Störk, Nadia Kubis, and Art Kleiner Photograph courtesy of Adidas AG Think high-profile consumer goods, and sports apparel comes quickly to mind. It has the most memorable slogans, the most famous brand ambassadors, and a rapid-fire, trend-catching production cycle for sleek new products. The sports apparel category is also expected to grow fast, at about 4 percent a year — a reflection of the increasing global interest in health and fitness. The market, with its dizzying array of custom footwear, is set to have annual sales of nearly US$190 billion by 2020. For the past few years, the fastest-growing major sports apparel enterprise has been the German company that founded the sector in 1924: Adidas. The CEO overseeing Adidas’s flourishing is Kasper Rørsted, a man who spent the first half of his career in the tech industry and is known in business circles for his ability to link strategy and execution. He was hired in 2016 from the top post at Henkel, a manufacturer of laundry and beauty products, where he had led an eight-year turnaround that tripled the company’s share price. Rørsted, originally from Denmark, is an avid athlete who once played on his country’s national youth handball team. Now, with the motto “Through sport, we have the power to change lives,” he is positioning Adidas as a globally influential enterprise. The Adidas strategy — speed, a focus on a few trendsetting cities, and open source innovation — was introduced in 2015 by Rørsted’s predecessor, Herbert Hainer, who had retired after running Adidas for 15 years. Rørsted continued promoting all three strategic priorities, and focused on execution. On his watch, Adidas reorganized its operations and launched two innovative “Speedfactories,” or rapid- supported by EUROBAK 83