Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden, an ex-footballer, shared his mobile number with as many as 60,000 employees in an effort to boost ‘transparency’ at the Germany-based sports giant, The Wall Street Journal has reported (article behind paywall).

Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden, holds a shoe worn by Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa when she set a new women’s world record at the Berlin Marathon, finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 53 seconds, during an interview at Adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, November 20, 2023. REUTERS/Helen Reid

“Some people think I am crazy,” Gulden, a Norwegian national who arrived at Adidas in 1992, told the outlet, adding that after giving his cellphone number, for a while, he was contacted ‘about 200 times’ every week by staff who wanted him to make ‘changes’ at the company.

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“It is important for leaders to be open,” the Switzerland-born executive, 58, added.

The business executive also pointed to how there was a ‘culture of finding reasons to not do things’ at Adidas.

Gulden, who spent nine years at rival Puma before rejoining his current employer, has been CEO and a member of the Executive Board there, since January 1, 2023. At Puma, he was credited with leading an impressive sales turnaround that he is now trying to replicate with Adidas, the WSJ report further stated.

As per the report, he tried to make a ‘quick impact’ at Adidas – much like he did at Puma – and started by terminating consultants who, according to him, made decisions that ‘industry experts would never make.’

As a result, the sports apparel and footwear maker, ‘is on track to return profitability this year,’ Gulden told the leading daily.

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