Bjørn Gulden has just announced he will not renew his contract with PUMA after 9 years as the brand's CEO.
With an intertwined history that comes through family ties, adidas and PUMA have been “rivals” for decades now since the Dassler brothers shut down their co-owned shoe brand Geda. Adolf Dassler went on to found adidas and his brother Rudolf went on to create Puma, dividing the town of Herzogenaurach while both brands rose to prominence in the 20th century. While in the past their heated rivalry literally divided the town (which gave it the nickname “the town of bent necks), nowadays things have a more lighthearted tone as the loyalty to each respective brand doesn’t truly divide families or businesses in the city. Thankfully this negative climate isn’t as strong as it once was as PUMA’s current CEO, Bjørn Gulden, has just announced he will step down from the role and insiders are stating he will likely replace outgoing adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted.
While his leaving was announced earlier in the year, Rørsted has recently faced criticism over his handling of Ye (FKA Kanye West) and his recent antisemitic comments as the brand was the last major partner of his (after Gap and Balenciaga) to cut ties with the former-billionaire. For Gulden, his reputation in the industry is high as he played a major role in PUMA's recent resurgence which includes increasing their presence in the basketball market through key signings like LaMelo Ball and Breanna Steward.
While reports are indicating that Gulden will replace Rørsted once he steps down in 2023, his contract has a non-compete clause that prevents him from jumping ship so quickly. After the news of Gulden’s potential new role at The Three Stripes, adidas shares jumped nearly 20%. PUMA has announced that come January 1st, 2023, the current CCO, Arne Freundt, will become the new CEO of the company.
We’ll have to wait and see what will go down in the aftermath of this and what Gulden can do to help the now-dire looking future for adidas which is losing billions of dollars thanks to its severing of the partnership with Ye as well as poor performances in the overseas market. Keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest news, releases, raffles, and more in the sneaker and streetwear world.