CLAIMS TO FAME
As the CEO of Henkel, a German consumer-products manufacturer, he’s increased annual earnings in each of the past six years, largely by cutting jobs and shuttering failing brands. Rorsted was especially focused on improving Henkel’s fortunes in the U.S.–experience that could help recharge Adidas’ business there. Henkel’s Persil detergent, popular in Europe but until recently relatively unknown in America, now competes with Tide at Walmarts across the country.
Competition–and it’s not just Nike. Under Armour has reached the No. 2 spot in the sportswear market in the U.S.; Skechers passed Adidas in athletic shoes. While Adidas is saddled with a $185 million deal with the injury-prone Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, the electric Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is signed to Under Armour.
Investors, who one analyst said have a “cultlike” confidence in Rorsted’s financial abilities. Henkel’s share price has more than tripled since Rorsted took over in 2008. Adidas stock jumped 12% the day his appointment was announced.
The company’s struggling TaylorMade golf unit, which saw revenue decline 13% in 2015 amid falling interest in the sport. Adidas said last year that it might sell the unit, which could jibe with Rorsted’s penchant for eliminating rather than reviving struggling brands.
CAN HE DO IT?
He has a shot. Adidas is already on the rebound, with profits up 14% in 2015 after a couple of weak years. But Nike is further cementing its U.S. dominance by leveraging superstars like LeBron James, who signed a lifetime deal rumored to be worth more than $500 million.
This appears in the March 21, 2016 issue of TIME.