* CEO Franz Koch to leave at end of March
* Company hopes to appoint new CEO by spring 2013
* Shareholder PPR to pursue reorganisation of company
FRANKFURT, Dec 12 Puma's chief
executive will leave in March, part of an overhaul of the German
sportswear maker intended to catch up with rivals such as Adidas
Puma is cutting costs, reducing its product range and
trimming management following a profit warning over the summer
after customers in its main markets in Europe held back on
purchases of sports shoes and t-shirts.
The company's announcement of 33-year-old CEO Franz Koch's
exit on Wednesday came less than two weeks after Jean-Francois
Palus from controlling shareholder PPR took over as
chairman of the supervisory board from former CEO Jochen Zeitz
who had headed Puma for 18 years.
Puma, 82.4 percent controlled by the French luxury goods
group, said Koch would work with new chairman Palus, also PPR
group managing director, until he left.
Koch only took over as CEO in summer 2011, so he will have
been in the post for less than two years by the time he leaves
"We will pursue the reorganisation of the company, focus on
product innovation and marketing, and will continue to devote
the necessary resources to the development of the brand," Palus
said on Wednesday.
Palus said Puma hoped to hire a new chief executive by the
spring. A graduate of HEC business school and a former Arthur
Andersen consultant, Palus is seen by analysts as a pragmatic,
The management overhaul has already seen chief operating
office Klaus Bauer and marketing officer Antonio Bertone
agreeing to step down from their roles. Adidas manager Andy
Koehler would become Puma's new chief operating office, German
publication Manager Magazin reported on Wednesday.
Puma declined to comment on the report, while Adidas
confirmed the departure of Koehler as its global head of
PPR has said Puma, a distant third in terms of sales behind
Adidas and Nike, was not spending enough on products, which has
seen it lag rivals in bringing out new high-tech running and
"This acquisition (Puma) has been a real failure and PPR,
which probably wanted to turn it into a big fashion brand,
missed its target," said a sector analyst who asked to remain
Puma shares were down 1.1 percent at 1619 GMT.