Executive Changes Means A New Game Is Afoot At Nike, adidas

May 22, 2011: Fierce rivals Nike and adidas continue to look for ways to get the upper hand — or in this case, the upper foot — over one another.

Last week, both athletic footwear and sportswear giants made moves at the top to do just that.

Nike said that Michael Spillane, currently CEO of Converse, would become CEO and president of Umbro; and that Jim Calhoun, currently CEO of Hurley, would become CEO and president of Converse.

Both Spillane and Calhoun will continue to report to Roger Wyett, president of affiliates. for Nike Inc. Wyett will serve as interim CEO of Hurley until Nike names a successor.

In addition, Nike said that Jim Allaker, CEO and president of Umbro, would retire.

At adidas, Hermann Deininger has been named the new CMO, effective June 1. Also, Bernd Wahler, most recently CMO for adidas Sport Performance, will assume leadership of the "new and extended function" as head of innovation for the adidas brand, effective July 1. He will report directly to Deininger.

According to adidas, Deininger will be responsible for all three adidas sub-brands: adidas Sport Performance, adidas Originals and adidas Sport Style.

Deininger has been with the adidas Group since 1985, the last four years as CMO for adidas Sport Style. He will continue to report directly to Erich Stamminger, executive board member, responsible for Global Brands.

At Nike, Spillane brings more than 25 years of management experience in the apparel and textile industries to Umbro. He joined Converse in 2007 as president-North America Footwear. In less than a year, he took over the apparel business as president-North America and Global Product.

Spillane held CEO positions at Polartec and Malden Mills as well as senior positions at Tommy Hilfiger and Jockey.

Calhoun joined Nike from Levi Strauss & Company, where he had worked since 2008 as evp and president of the Dockers brand. Before joining Levi Strauss, Calhoun was with The Walt Disney Company for almost a decade in a variety of senior roles, most recently as evp and GM for Disney Consumer Products for North and Latin America. Prior to Disney, Calhoun worked with Nike’s basketball business.

“We are very excited that Michael, a seasoned industry veteran, will now take the helm at Umbro," Roger Wyett said in a statement. "Michael has demonstrated strong success at Converse and we are confident he will bring the same passion, commitment and clarity of vision to Umbro.

"In addition, Jim Calhoun’s brand expertise and global experience will be instrumental in driving continued growth at Converse.”

At adidas, Erich Stamminger said regarding Deininger  and the company's recent move to boost consumer awareness of its sub-brands, “Earlier this year, we started to show the breadth and depth of the adidas brand in one global brand campaign to our consumers world-wide with ‘adidas is all in’. The next logical step in the development of our brand is to further strengthen the consistency of the adidas brand in our internal organization.

"The next logical step in the development of our brand is to further strengthen the consistency of the adidas brand in our internal organization."

"Under Hermann Deininger’s leadership, our Sport Style business has reached record heights over the last years and I am convinced he will further strengthen the position of the adidas brand globally going forward. At the same time, in his new role, Bernd Wahler will ensure that adidas remains the innovation leader in our industry.”

According to Stamminger, “This new structure strengthens the integrity of our three sub-brands while making sure that all adidas programs and products across all sub-brands remain in line with our overall brand direction. t is also a major step to deliver against the targets of our strategic business plan Route 2015 by enabling us to better focus on the consumer, align our organization worldwide and thus increase our speed to market.”

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