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adidas Group announces management changes in Western Europe and North America

Route 2015 key initiatives will help the adidas Group to maximise the potential of its brands

Route 2015 - adidas Group
October 22, 2013

Herzogenaurach, October 22, 2013 – The adidas Group today announced changes to its management team in Western Europe and North America. As part of the company’s strategic business plan Route 2015, these key initiatives will help the adidas Group to maximise the potential of its brands in its two largest regions.

Western Europe

To lead the game and to be closer to customers and consumers than ever before, the adidas Group is creating a new market structure: Western Europe, consisting of Central, North, South, France and Iberia.

Consumer behaviour is changing fast in Europe: country borders are becoming less relevant for our consumers and customers. To continue to lead the game on our home turf, we have decided to go forward with one aligned strategy for Western Europe. I am convinced that our new set-up will make us even more attractive for consumers and customers in Western Europe and will enable us to further extend our leadership position in this important region.

Herbert Hainer, CEO of the adidas Group

Gil Steyaert (50), currently Managing Director North for the adidas Group, has been appointed as Managing Director Western Europe effective November 1, 2013. In this position, Gil Steyaert will report to Roland Auschel, Board Member for Global Sales, and will be based out of Herzogenaurach. All Western European Managing Directors will report directly to Gil Steyaert. Gil Steyaert joined the adidas Group in 1999 as Joint Managing Director for France. In January 2003, he became Managing Director North (UK+Ireland, Benelux and Scandinavia) where he leaves a strong and successful legacy.

Following Gil Steyaert’s appointment, Gavin Thomson (48) has been appointed as new Managing Director Market North effective January 1, 2014. In his new role, Gavin Thomson will report to Gil Steyaert. Most recently, Gavin Thomson has played a critical role in building the Global Wholesale function of the adidas Group. His appointment as Managing Director Market North marks a return to his adidas Group home roots, where he began his career in 1995.


To maximise the potential of both adidas and Reebok in North America, the adidas Group is uniting both brands under one management team with immediate effect. This move follows the introduction of Joint Operating Models in all other markets. 

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.  With this new organisational 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.


Patrik Nilsson (49), currently President of adidas North America, has been appointed President adidas Group North America and will lead the newly united organisation. He will also assume global responsibility for Reebok-CCM Hockey. In his new role, Patrik Nilsson will continue to report directly to Herbert Hainer, CEO of the adidas Group. Patrik Nilsson has a proven track record of success in the U.S., spearheading double-digit growth for the adidas North America business. Patrik Nilsson was named President of adidas North America in January 2007 and has had a long and successful career with the adidas brand, beginning in 1991 as Head of Sales and Marketing at adidas Sweden.

After 23 successful years at the adidas Group, Uli Becker (50), currently President of Reebok North America, has decided to leave the adidas Group to pursue new career and business opportunities. 

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. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

Herbert Hainer, CEO of the adidas Group