The Adidas Group's executive board is apparently turning over a new leaf since it appointed its second new member in a few months: Eric Liedtke, current senior vice president for the Adidas brand's Sport Performance unit, is to take over from Erich Stamminger on March 6 as executive board member in charge of global brands.
The news of Liedtke's appointment comes after Roland Auschel, previously chief sales officer, rose to the executive board in October – the first such change in twelve years, which also saw the executive board expand from four to five members. Herbert Hainer, the Adidas group's chief executive, whose current contract expires in 2015, has said repeatedly in the last few months that the time had come for a younger generation to take on more responsibilities at the company.
The change is significant both for the arrival and the departure. Stamminger is the executive who has risen through the ranks at Adidas almost in tandem with Hainer. He is leaving the company after 30 years that saw him supervise marketing for the group's brands on an increasingly global scale. Hainer acknowledged that Stamminger's marketing acumen had been invaluable, and they have become personal friends.
The Adidas Group stated that Stamminger had decided not to renew his contract for personal reasons. It could be speculated that he did not see the opportunity to take the hot seat at the company – but our information is that, at 56 years, Stamminger is just giving himself a chance to have a second professional life.
Liedtke has been praised in the last months for the hard-hitting launch of the Boost technology. His promotion will give him extra responsibility in the marketing battle against Nike at the football World Cup later this year. For the last ten years or so, Liedtke has been working closely with Stamminger, who was even described as the 47-year-old U.S. citizen's mentor.
Trained as a journalist, Liedtke has already been at Adidas for 20 years, starting at the company's North American head office in Portland, where he was director of footwear marketing and vice president of brand marketing, among other positions. He moved to the group's international head office in 2006, to become senior vice president of global brand marketing. He has held his current function for the last two years, in charge of all Adidas sports categories globally.
Stamminger joined what was then Adidas International in 1983, after a stint at GfK, the consumer research institute. He started by specializing in strategic planning and market research, and rose to become marketing director at Adidas Germany in 1991, just as Hainer was placed in charge of sales for the same entity. Their paths ran parallel for the next years, with Hainer focusing on sales and Stamminger on marketing.
The German executive earned more stripes in marketing, planning and controlling, gradually widening his territory. He became a member of the executive board in 1998. He was briefly the president and chief executive of Adidas America, where he got to know Liedtke.