Adidas shifts management of Reebok to Portland

Adidas shifts management of Reebok to Portland
Patrik Nilsson is president of Adidas America.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland-based management team of Adidas America is now responsible for the German company's Reebok arm, which is based outside of Boston.

In a statement Monday, the company said the move is effective immediately.

"Our goal is to strengthen our business, to invest in our brands and to enable faster growth for both brands by winning our key consumers — the high school kid for Adidas, the fit generation for Reebok and avid sports fans through our Sports Licensed Division," said Herbert Hainer, the German company's CEO. "With this new organizational structure, we ensure that both the Adidas and Reebok brands remain separate and distinctive while leveraging the group’s strengths. This new set up will make our group stronger and grow our business faster in the U.S."

Uli Becker, president of Reebok North America, is leaving the company.

Adidas America will remain based in Portland. The Reebok brand will remain based in Canton, Mass. Adidas locations in Indianapolis and Spartanburg will be unaffected.

"Each location has a unique and powerful culture grounded in the values and goals of each brand," said spokeswoman Lauren Lamkin, in an email. "We want to continue to foster the positive effects of this energy and harness the collective power of both brands. In some instances, operations are already integrated (IT and supply chain management, for example) with employees across both locations."

Adidas employs roughly 850 in Portland. Reebok employs roughly 1,000 in Canton. The change in management structure is not expected to affect the location of those employees.

Adidas America is run by President Patrik Nilsson, 49. Since his arrival in Portland in 2007, Adidas America has grown its market share in footwear from 6.1 percent to 8.6 percent.

Adidas purchased Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2005. Since then it has struggled. Reebok had 8 percent of the market when acquired by Adidas. It had 3.2 percent in 2012, according to according to Matt Powell, a footwear and apparel analyst with SportsOneSource.Powell.

Meanwhile, Nike has picked up significant market share, growing its piece of the U.S. footwear pie from 41.2 percent in 2007 to 53.3 percent in 2012.

"Reebok has never the same company after the Adidas acquisition," Powell said. "Uli Becker did a lot of right things during his tenure. The toning meltdown (not Reebok’s fault) and the scandal in India hindered his prospects for success."

In his new role, Nilsson will also assume global management of Reebok-CCM Hockey. Nilsson is an accomplished amateur hockey player.

He will continue to report directly to Hainer.

Nilsson was a recent guest at a Business Journal Power Breakfast.

Becker worked for Adidas for 23 years.

"We would like to thank Uli for his leadership, expertise and the many contributions he has made to the success of the Adidas Group over the last 23 years in his various roles at Adidas and Reebok in marketing and sales," Hainer said in a statement. "We wish him all the best for his future endeavors.”

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