FRANKFURT Sportswear maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) named Eric Liedtke as its global head of brands on Wednesday, bringing a younger manager to its executive board as it battles to regain ground lost to Nike (NKE.N) last year.
The German group, which lost market share in North America and Europe to its bigger U.S. rival in 2013, said that 47-year-old Liedtke will replace Erich Stamminger, 56, on its five-member executive board on March 6.
Stamminger, who has been with Adidas for 30 years, had decided not to renew his contract for personal reasons, the company said.
American Liedtke is currently senior vice-president of Adidas Sport Performance, the division offering high-tech products for amateur and professional sports enthusiasts, and was instrumental in the development of the Boost running shoe launched in February last year.
Adidas estimates that sales of shoes featuring the Boost cushioning technology could reach 15 million pairs in 2015.
"We think this is a natural promotion and consistent with the success Liedtke has more recently brought to bear via the Boost campaign, among others," Berenberg Bank analyst John Guy said.
The first big test for Liedtke in his new role is likely to be the marketing battleground of this year's soccer World Cup finals in Brazil, where Adidas aims to pull out all the stops to make its presence felt.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by David Goodman)