Frank Dassler, general counsel and chief compliance officer at the Adidas Group, left the company at the end of January, although he will continue to advise the group and to represent it in international organizations.
Dassler's appointment at the Adidas Group in 2004 raised some eyebrows since he is the grandson of Rudolf Dassler, the founder of Puma. Rudolf Dassler famously split from his brother, Adi Dassler, the founder of the Adidas brand, in the rivalry that long divided their family as well as their home town, Herzogenaurach. The two sports companies founded by the Dasslers were taken over by outsiders in the early ‘nineties.
The Adidas Group said that Frank Dassler was retiring but he will remain active at his own law firm in Herzogenaurach. That was already the case before Dassler joined Adidas, and his expertise in the area of the sporting goods industry made him a compelling candidate for the job, regardless of the family situation. He was previously at Puma, where he started in public relations and then established a research department. Dassler was president of Puma's U.S. subsidiary for two years as well. These ties did not prevent several legal proceedings between Adidas and Puma under Dassler's tenure.
Dassler remains president of the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (Fesi), a function that he assumed last year, and a board member of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), on behalf of Adidas. The group said Dassler would hold these functions in close collaboration with its government and external relations department. Dassler's successor at the Adidas group will be announced in the next months, but the function will be assumed in the interim by Paul Ehrlich, general counsel for global brands and the Americas.