October 22, 2013 / 8:07 AM / 5 years ago

Adidas shakes up management to restore Europe, U.S. growth

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Sporting goods group maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) is shaking up its management structures in North America and western Europe as it seeks to boost growth in these regions.

Adidas golf shoes "Adizero" are pictured during the company's annual news conference in Herzogenaurach March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Adidas, the world’s second largest sporting apparel firm, has been losing ground to bigger rival Nike (NKE.N) in North America and Europe this year.

While Nike’s sales in North America and western Europe rose 9 and 8 percent in its fiscal first quarter, Adidas reported falls of 11 percent in western Europe and 2 percent in north America at constant currencies in its second quarter.

The Germany-based group also warned on profit last month due to adverse currency effects, a poor golf season and distribution problems in Russia.

Adidas said it was bringing management for its Adidas and Reebok brands in North America together. The new Adidas Group North America will be run by Patrik Nilsson, currently head of Adidas North America, while his counterpart at Reebok, Uli Becker, will leave.

“This new set-up will make our group stronger and grow our business faster in the U.S.,” Adidas Chief Executive Herbert Hainer said in a statement on Tuesday.

In Europe, Adidas is bringing its country-by-country structures together under one - Western Europe. A spokeswoman said the move reflects the set-up of many of its retail partners, which are not present in just one country, but across regions.

“Consumer behavior is changing fast in Europe: country borders are becoming less relevant for our consumers and customers,” Hainer said.

Gil Steyaert, currently managing director of the North region for Adidas group, will head the new Western Europe structure.

Shares in Adidas were up 1.2 percent at 0744 GMT, outperforming a flat German blue-chip index .GDAXI.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by David Cowell

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