Herzogenaurach/Portland/Hong Kong/Tokyo, September 29, 2003 - Ross McMullin, President and CEO of adidas America and Member of the Executive Board of adidas-Salomon AG responsible for North America, has decided to take a leave of absence due to health reasons. For an interim period, starting immediately, adidas America will be led by Jim Stutts, currently adidas' Head of Region Asia/Pacific.
"We respect Ross' decision and admire his strength and courage in fighting this battle. His contribution and commitment to our organization over the last three years have been tremendous," said Herbert Hainer, Chairman and CEO of adidas-Salomon AG. "At the same time, we are confident that Jim can step into this interim role immediately based on his excellent track record and long experience with our Group. In close collaboration with our Executive Board, Jim will build on the turnaround Ross and his team initiated in 2002 in order to secure a strong market position in the region."
Jim Stutts (43), an American, draws on over 16 years of experience working with both the adidas and TaylorMade brands. He spent five years (1994 to 1999) at adidas America, the last two as Chief Operating Officer. During this period Jim Stutts contributed significantly to the success of our North American operations. In June 1999, he was appointed CEO of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. During his tenure in Carlsbad, California, Jim Stutts and his team successfully led the turnaround of the golf business that has positioned TaylorMade-adidas Golf as the leading performance golf brand in the world. From 1999 until 2002 TaylorMade-adidas Golf sales surged 117% to 707 million Euro. Since January 2003 Jim Stutts has held the position of Head of Region Asia/Pacific for brand adidas.
Christophe Bezu (46), currently Managing Director of adidas Japan, will succeed Jim Stutts as Head of adidas' Region Asia/Pacific, adidas' fastest growing region. Christophe Bezu, a French national, has led adidas Japan since its inception in 1999 as Managing Director. From 1999 until 2002 sales at adidas Japan have more than doubled, making it adidas' largest subsidiary in Asia. Christophe Bezu started his career with adidas in 1988 in France as Product Director Footwear. In 1991, he moved to Asia and served the company in various senior positions at the adidas liaison office in Japan.
Rob Langstaff (42), currently COO of adidas Japan, will succeed Christophe Bezu as Managing Director of adidas Japan. Rob Langstaff, American, was part of the Senior Management Team of adidas Japan since the start of the subsidiary. Before that, he held various management positions within Global Marketing and Global Finance at the Group's headquarters since 1991.
"Asia is a vital part of our success and our fastest growing region with Japan being a key driver," said Herbert Hainer. "We are looking forward to supporting Christophe and Rob in their new roles."
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