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adidas AG

legal form Corporation
founding August 18, 1949
Seat Herzogenaurach , GermanyGermanyGermany 
Number of employees 59,533
sales 23.64 billion euros
Branch Sporting goods
As of December 31, 2019

The Adidas AG (proper spelling: adidas ) is an international German sporting goods manufacturer based in Herzogenaurach in Nuremberg .

With its two core brands Adidas and Reebok, the company offers clothing , shoes , sports equipment, accessories and licensed products such as watches , cosmetics and glasses through its own stores and retailers worldwide . The group is the second largest sporting goods manufacturer in the world after Nike and is known as an important supplier of famous athletes, sports teams and international sporting events.


Adidas logo since 2006

Early years

At the beginning of the 1920s, the brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler made sports shoes in their mother's old laundry room in Herzogenaurach that were optimally adapted to the feet of the respective professional athletes. In 1924 the company was entered in the local commercial register as Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik . However, even then there were always differences between the brothers. Rudolf Dassler, the accomplished businessman, was the more extrovert of the two; Master shoemaker Adolf Dassler, on the other hand, was more introverted and more skilled in the art.

From 1925 the Dasslers produced special sports shoes for soccer players and runners . They also attached studs to the football boots for the first time . In 1928, Dassler shoes were used for the first time in athletics at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam . Lina Radke was one of the first internationally known athletes in Dassler shoes . In the mid-1930s, several different sports shoe models were produced for different sports, including tennis shoes from 1931 onwards . At the 1936 Olympics , Jesse Owens won four gold medals; he had trained in Dassler shoes.

Adolf and Rudolf Dassler joined the NSDAP in May 1933 and were later also members of the National Socialist Motor Corps . From 1935 until the end of the war, Adolf held a position as a sports officer in the Hitler Youth . During the war, the company maintained the country's last running sports shoe factory and primarily supplied the Wehrmacht with sports and special shoes. From 1943 the shoe production had to be stopped, instead the anti-tank weapon rocket armored rifle 54 of the Schricker & Co. company was manufactured at both factory locations . Between 1942 and 1945, at least nine forced laborers were used in the factories .

Adidas factory outlet in Herzogenaurach

After the war, Adolf Dassler and his brother Rudolf finally fell out and went their separate ways after shoe production had started again in 1946. Rudolf Dassler founded the Puma company in 1948 , which for a long time was one of the fiercest competitors in sports shoes . Both Herzogenaurach-based companies produce the entire range of sports shoes for a variety of sports. Their rivalry was thematized in the 2016 television film Duel der Brüder - The Story of Adidas and Puma .

International rise

Today's Adidas AG was founded on August 18, 1949 by Adolf Dassler as Adi Dassler adidas sports shoe factory with 47 employees. On the same day Dassler had a shoe model and three parallel stripes patented as a brand. The name of the company is an acronym made up of Dassler's nickname Adi and the first three letters of his surname.

In the post-war years, Dassler's soccer shoes were used by the German national soccer team , whose victory at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland - the so-called miracle of Bern - made the shoes with the three stripes and the innovative screw-in studs from Adidas world-famous.

As a result, Dassler was at the request of coach Sepp Herberger in Süßener company Schwahn with three stripes provided sports pants and sports suits exclusively for the football team in order. With the purchase of the company Schwahn and cooperation with Franz Beckenbauer as a brand ambassador in 1967 came to a named after the footballer tracksuit the first garment made by Adidas for the end user. Adidas has been producing soccer balls since 1963 and has equipped every FIFA World Cup with the official match ball since 1970. In 1986 the production of leather soccer balls ended with the plastic Azteca México , since then synthetic material has been used.

Popular Adidas sports pants of the 1970s
Adidas Rome from 1970

In 1960 Adolf's son Horst Dassler opened an Adidas factory in Dettwiller . Through the acquisition of several other Alsatian factories, Adidas France was created under his leadership over the years . In 1973, its headquarters were established in Landersheim , and in 2018 the company moved to Strasbourg . There have been no Adidas production facilities in Alsace since 1994. In 1966, as part of the 1966 World Cup, a collaboration between Adidas and the Le Coq Sportif brand took place from France , which heralded the entry into the textile industry for Adidas. Because Le Coq Sportif had the right to use three parallel stripes after a court order in France, Adidas bought the company in 1974. It was sold in 1995.

The 1972 introduced Sandal adidas adilette Slipper is available today. In 1965 Adidas created a leather tennis shoe for the French tennis player Robert Haillet (1931–2011); Before that, tennis was mainly played in canvas shoes. With this, Adidas established itself in the world of tennis. After Haillet's withdrawal from professional sport, the shoe model was continued, slightly modified, as Adidas Stan Smith from 1971 . In 1972 Adidas signed Ilie Năstase for $ 50,000.

Adidas found its way into the sport of basketball with the leather Adidas Superstar , which was developed in 1969 for American basketball players who had previously played primarily with textile shoes from the Chuck Taylor All Star brand . At the same time, American customers increasingly wore the sports shoes in their free time, which further boosted sales.

Because Adi Dassler suppressed his son Horst's idea of ​​entering the swimwear market, the latter founded the Arena brand in 1972 through Adidas France . Arena was sold in 1990. Horst Dassler had also previously secured the production and distribution rights for Façonnable for Adidas France and thus built up a textile company with Adidas clothing in France, whereas his father was still skeptical about Adidas textiles and especially leisure wear. At the insistence of his wife Käthe (1917–1984), however, he had a logo designed for the 1972 Summer Olympics , which became known as the Trefoil, which was used to decorate a number of items of clothing. The three-leaf logo was adopted as the official company logo and later used for all clothing products. Soon the textile business was accounting for 40% of Adidas revenue. Adidas has also been producing tennis rackets since 1974 . In 1976 the jersey manufacturer Erima was bought up. The Adidas range was steadily expanded in the following years; so articles for winter sports and mountain sports were added.

The national football association of the Netherlands, KNVB, had signed a contract with Adidas for the 1974 World Cup . The national team played in orange jerseys with the three stripes on the sleeves, the hallmark of Adidas. However, Johan Cruyff , the team's captain and star, had an exclusive deal with rival Puma at the time. Puma equipped him with Puma King Boots. Cruyff refused to play in an Adidas outfit. Adidas then commissioned Erima to produce a custom-made version of the Dutch jersey. This version only featured two stripes. Cruyff's teammates, the Kerkhof twins, who had also signed a contract with Puma, joined Cruyff's idea. The jersey with the two stripes was worn at the 1974 and 1978 World Championships.

Philipp Lahm in an Adidas outfit (2011)

When Adolf Dassler died in 1978, the company, which had meanwhile become the world market leader for sporting goods, was continued by his family. His wife Käthe took over the management, she died on New Year's Eve from 1984 to 1985 of a heart attack . She was followed by her son Horst, who expanded the lifestyle area and established Adidas sneakers in the leisure fashion segment. Through numerous marketing and sponsoring activities, he expanded the Adidas brand on the world market. At that time, the company produced around 280,000 pairs of sports shoes a day, which accounted for 60% of sales, and employed around 10,500 people, almost 4,500 of them in West Germany. Sales amounted to more than three billion D-Marks plus over one billion D-Marks from licensed products. 1985 was the first time a men's perfume and cosmetics line was launched by Adidas in collaboration with Margaret Astor (today: Coty Inc. ); A women's fragrance followed in 1988. Since then, numerous Adidas fragrance waters have appeared.

Sale and IPO

Although production was increasingly relocated to low-wage countries, Adidas got into economic difficulties in the mid-1980s; the family business had to be opened up to non-family investors. In 1987 Horst Dassler died unexpectedly. The company inherited from his four sisters. The lawyer Albert Henkel temporarily took over the management before handing it over to René C. Jäggi . In 1989 Adidas lost world market leadership to Nike. Adidas had underestimated the demand for jogging and running items , among other things . In April 1989 the company was converted into a stock corporation. In the 1989 financial year, Adidas posted an annual loss of around 130 million Deutschmarks.

On July 7, 1990, the four Dassler daughters sold 80 percent of their shares to the French entrepreneur Bernard Tapie for 1.6 billion French francs , at that time around 470 million DM . In the following year, Tapie sold 20 percent of its shares to the British Pentland Group , which in turn initially made a takeover offer for Adidas in 1992, withdrew this according to auditor reports in summer 1992 and finally sold the 20 percent stake back to Tapie at the end of 1992. At the end of 1992, Tapie, who had been French city minister ( Ministre de la Ville ) in the Pierre Bérégovoy cabinet from 1992 , commissioned his house bank Crédit Lyonnais to sell its Adidas shares for the equivalent of almost 320 million euros. The state bank took over the shares through subsidiaries and sold them in 1994 for more than double (around 671 million euros) to the French entrepreneur Robert Louis-Dreyfus . This resulted in a scandal in France that was to occupy the courts there until 2017.

After the Adidas company initially operated as Adidas International Holding GmbH , it was renamed Adidas AG in 1993 and converted into a stock corporation. In 1995 the Adidas shares were placed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange for the equivalent of 1.68 billion euros . On March 18, 1996, Adidas was included in the MDAX and on June 19, 1998 in the DAX .

In 1997 Adidas took over the French sporting goods manufacturer Salomon for 2.4 billion DM, from then on the company was called Adidas-Salomon . This was accompanied by the acquisition of the American golf equipment manufacturer TaylorMade , which Salomon had bought in 1984. The merger with Salomon, a company primarily focused on winter sports , was intended to increase the bandwidth of the Adidas range, but the acquisition turned out to be a loss-making business. Nevertheless, Dreyfus, who completely rebuilt the Adidas group during his tenure, replaced most of the Adidas managers, expanded marketing activities and relocated production to low-wage countries, is credited with transforming the once deficit company into a successful global player . Dreyfus handed over his post in 2001 to Herbert Hainer , an Adidas employee since 1987. Salomon was sold to Amer Sports in 2005 for 485 million euros and the company was renamed Adidas AG . Adidas initially retained the TaylorMade division (sold in 2017), which in turn bought the American golf brands Adams Golf and Ashworth in 2008 . After the sale of Salomon, Adidas took over competitor Reebok , the previous number three in the sporting goods industry, for 3.1 billion euros.

Reebok acquisition

Reebok logo from 2014 to 2019

The merger with the competitor Reebok went hand in hand with the plans to sell Salomon, with the aim of getting closer to the world market leader Nike. On January 31, 2006, the acquisition of Reebok International Ltd. completed. Reebok shareholders received $ 59 in cash per share  . The value of the transaction was around 3.1 billion euros. Herbert Hainer remained CEO of the new Adidas Group, while Paul Fireman resigned from his position as CEO of Reebok International Ltd. resigned and worked as Hainer's advisor. The Reebok takeover also included the golf brand Greg Norman Collection , which Adidas sold to the MacGregor Golf Company in October 2006 , the ice hockey and inline skating equipment manufacturer CCM Hockey and the street shoe manufacturer Rockport , which Reebok had acquired in 1986. Adidas sold Rockport in 2015 to the private equity firm Berkshire Partners of Boston and New Balance . CCM Hockey was sold to the Canadian private equity firm Birch Hill Equity Partners in 2017 .

In contrast to Reebok, Adidas has not had a large market share in the US sports shoe business. In Europe, the relationship between the two manufacturers' market positions is reversed. Reebok is in a weaker market position there. With the merger, Adidas wanted to gain market share in the sports shoe business and strengthen its position vis-à-vis the world market leader Nike, which in 2005 had sales of 11.6 billion euros. Adidas had to revise its profit forecast for the coming year downwards in November 2006, as additional money was needed for Reebok.

Herbert Hainer admitted in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung at the end of December that Reebok was in a restructuring case. In the first half of 2007 a further decline in sales is expected, but this should be reduced in the second half of the year. From 2009 onwards, cost savings of 175 million euros should "fully impact the result". The 2006 annual financial statements on March 7, 2007 continue to paint a diffuse picture for Reebok. The order backlog, an important leading indicator for future sales in the industry, was consistently in the red at Reebok: the currency-neutral order backlog fell by 14 percent in the first, 13 percent in the second, 14 percent in the third and 12 percent in the fourth quarter. This is mainly due to declines in the lifestyle sector in the USA.

In December 2007, Herbert Hainer told the Wirtschaftspresse Club in Munich about the Reebok takeover: “That was more difficult than expected.” Reebok sales in the first three quarters of 2007 had declined continuously. The trend reversal was postponed by another year. Reebok should start growing again from the second half of 2008. Dealers also referred to Hainer's statements about Reebok, which would "read poorly". The purchased US subsidiary apparently continues to cause problems. "We know that the brand is no longer so popular," said Hainer. Reebok concentrated too much on the music and lifestyle segment and neglected the sports sector. In addition, the sales strategy was not good.

Adidas as a brand

Trefoil / Trefoil logo (since 1971)
Adidas performance logo (since 1990)
Adidas-Style-Logo (since 2002)
Run-DMC made Adidas products their trademark
The Game (rapper) in an Adidas tracksuit (2013)
Porsche Design Sport at ISPO 2014


Adidas has a brand awareness level of 97% in Germany . The best-known Adidas trademark has been three parallel stripes since the early years: "Three vertical, parallel stripes of the same width, which are attached to the side of sports and leisure clothing and are made in a color that contrasts with the basic color of these items of clothing" make up this figurative mark. Another trademark since 1971 has been the logo with the three leaves called Trefoil / three-leaf , which is supposed to symbolize the Olympic spirit that connects the three continental plates. In 1990, another logo in the form of three diagonally aligned, triangular, wide black stripes that represent a stylized mountain was created for the performance area . With the addition of "Equipment", a separate sub-brand was created in 1991. In 2002 Adidas established a new logo in the form of a globe with three stripes for the Style division . The last new logo to date was added in 2006: three horizontally parallel stripes to the left of the adidas word mark .

Trademark law

Adolf Dassler first attached narrow leather strips to the sides of his sports shoes for reinforcement and finally found that these three strips made his shoes easily recognizable as such from a distance. In 1949 he had the three stripes protected under trademark law. During the 1952 Summer Olympics , Dassler noticed that the Finnish sports brand Karhu was also putting stripes on their sports shoes. He then bought the company the right to use three strips.

Since then, Adidas has consistently taken action against other companies that place three stripes on their products. Adidas also sued some companies in Europe to forbid them from making clothing with two stripes as a design element. The reason for this was that the similarity with the registered trademark of Adidas could lead to confusion. Larger brands insisted on their stripes right up to the last instance - in some cases with success in lower instances. As early as 2000, the Federal Court of Justice had ruled that a “well-known or even famous brand” like Adidas was “granted more extensive protection against confusion” than other brands, even though the use of two stripes by other companies could not be generally prohibited. As early as the late 1990s, Adidas had also brought Dutch companies such as Marca Mode , C&A , H&M , Fitness World Trading and Vendex to court in the Netherlands because they had used two stripes on their products. The proceedings ended up at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. The latter initially saw no need for action in 2003, but referred the matter back to the national courts in 2008 to clarify whether the average consumer also associates two parallel stripes with Adidas in individual cases. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CVRIA) ruled in 2015 that the Belgian sporting goods manufacturer Shoe Branding Europe BVBA was not allowed to use the two stripes after it had received a patent for it from the EU Trademark Office in 2009 against Adidas' resistance. The ECJ, which Shoe Branding Europe then appealed to, agreed with the decision of the CVRIA 2016. Thus, apart from Adidas, no company is allowed to use three parallel stripes and in individual cases also no two parallel stripes as a distinguishing feature.

To this day, Adidas uses the slogan "The brand with the 3 stripes", which is sometimes (also in English and French: "The brand with the 3 stripes", "La marque aux 3 bandes") on the products themselves, such as the tongue of the sports shoes.

Emblem and olympic games

In a dispute over the size of the manufacturer's logo when placing it on Olympic athletes' clothing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that Adidas may not present its stripes more conspicuously than the competition their logos. Only 20 square centimeters are allowed on athletic clothing. Competitors Nike and Puma, together with the World Association of the Sporting Goods Industry, complained that the Adidas logo was presented more conspicuously. Adidas justified this with the fact that the stripes are not a trademark , but a design element . Adidas received another special permit for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. The IOC justified its decision by saying that one had to avoid excessive company advertising on sports clothing and that all manufacturers were to be treated equally. However, despite the incidents, Adidas announced that it would remain true to its "tradition as an Olympic brand".

Brand image and collections

Bundeskader - Sports Promotion Group of the Bundeswehr - Tracksuit of the Bundeswehr - Women

At the beginning of the 1990s the singer Madonna and later also athletes such. B. David Beckham or Jelena Isinbayeva used the three stripes as a trademark for success. Even before that, the band Run-DMC had set a musical monument in 1986 with My Adidas, the Superstar model, which is very popular in the rap scene . The rock group Korn , who appeared in Adidas suits in the first few years of their career, had released the song adidas .

In 1984 Adidas presented the MicroPacer , a digital LCD microcomputer in the tongue of sports shoes that combined the functions of a pedometer, stopwatch and calorie counter. In 1989 Torsion technology was introduced, which helped stabilize the wearer in the shoes. Since 1991, under the name adidas Sport eyewear, glasses and sports glasses from Adidas have been available under license cooperation with the company Silhouette .

In 1995 Adidas hired the German fashion designer Michael Michalsky , who acted as global creative director of the group from 2000 until he left in 2006 . In 1997 the Adidas Originals were launched with new editions of famous Adidas shoe models, such as the Stan Smith Superstar , and textiles. Since then, the three-leaf logo has been used exclusively for this series of Originals , for which Adidas has its own stores around the world. In the style area , highly fashionable articles from collaborations with the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto ( Y-3 since 2002) and the British designer Stella McCartney ( adidas by Stella McCartney since 2005), both of which were launched under Michalsky's direction, were launched in the early 2000s or Porsche Design ( Porsche Design Sport , 2007-2018). Fashion from the Y-3 brand is presented at the fashion shows in Paris and New York , where Yamamoto shows himself on the catwalk to the final applause. In 2016 the Y-3 collection was expanded to include the Y-3 Sport line.

Since 2008 Adidas has been working with recurring special collections for Adidas Originals with the American designer Jeremy Scott, who designed a perfume for Adidas in addition to fashion and shoes. Since 2014 there has been a collaboration with the American artist Pharrell Williams . Since 2005 there has been a cooperation with the American singer Kanye West , from which the Yeezy fashion collection emerged. In addition, under the heading “adidas by”, there are collaborations on high-priced clothing and shoes with designers Raf Simons (since 2013), Rick Owens (from 2014 to the end of 2017) and Yohji Yamamoto (since 2001) as well as the Japanese designer brand Kolor (since 2015 ). In addition, there has been a collaboration with Alexander Wang for the Originals series since 2016 .

In 2009 Adidas launched the SLVR clothing line with designer Alexander Schaper for the Style division. The SLVR collections were characterized by fashionable, experimental and functional design that was offered in specially opened SLVR flagship stores in Berlin, Los Angeles, New York and Miami, among others. SLVR was discontinued in 2014.

In 2008, Adidas launched the micoach brand as an interactive fitness system with a website, app, measuring devices, a Samsung cell phone (SGH-F110) and matching clothing. Micoach was given up as part of the acquisition by Adidas for 220 million euros from Runtastic in 2015. In 2010 Adidas hired the German designer Dirk Schöneberger for the Style division , who has been creative director for all Adidas divisions since 2015. At the end of 2011, Adidas bought the American outdoor outfitter Five Ten for $ 25 million, which will remain in the group as an independent brand. In 2012 Adidas Neo was launched as a youth shoe brand; Adidas Athletics was launched in 2016 .

The sports promotion group of the German Armed Forces was temporarily equipped with tracksuits from Adidas.


Core brands

  • Adidas Originals - fashionable leisure sports collection for women, men and children with clothing, sneakers and accessories; including collaborations with Kanye West ( Yeezy ), Pharrell Williams, Jeremy Scott and others
  • Adidas Performance - functional sports collections for women, men and children with clothing, shoes and accessories, divided into numerous sports such as football, jogging, golf, basketball, tennis etc.
  • Adidas Skateboarding - youthful skater collection for women and men with clothing, shoes and accessories
  • Adidas Athletics - athleisure collection for women, men and children with fashionable, functional sportswear, selected shoes and accessories
  • Adidas by Stella McCartney - sports collection for women with clothing, shoes and accessories in collaboration with Stella McCartney

Designer labels

  • Y-3 - avant-garde sportswear collection for women and men in the upper price segment in collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto
  • Porsche Design Sport by Adidas - fashionable sports collection for men with clothing, shoes and accessories in collaboration with Porsche Design (2007 - 2018; since then Porsche Design by Puma )
  • Adidas by… - collaboration with well-known designers and designer brands
    • Adidas by Yohji Yamamoto - unisex collection with sneakers for women and men in the upper price segment in collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto
    • Adidas by Kolor - sports collection for women and men with clothing, shoes and accessories in collaboration with Kolor
    • Adidas by Raf Simons - unisex collection with sneakers for women and men in the upper price segment in collaboration with Raf Simons

Well-known models

Adidas Samba with original packaging

In the 1970s and 1980s in particular, there were various shoe models that enjoyed cult status at that time. First of all, the Nice and Adria canvas shoes should be mentioned here, as well as the Rome white leather trainer with the blue stripes. Later (around 1984) followed the Spirit linen boot, which already heralded the time of pastel colors . From 1985 the models Lucy, Twister, Jolly and Sweety came on the market, which were also available in various pastel colors and achieved a distribution that is hardly known today. They weren't as sophisticated as today's sports shoes, but they were extremely light and comfortable, which is why they were so popular in addition to the fashionable colors. Common colors were u. a. light yellow, light blue, pale pink and white. With the end of the pastel era, shoes increasingly disappeared from the streets and sports halls from 1987 onwards. Today, the shoes of this era are almost impossible to find and in the wake of the retro wave , these models have not yet been reissued.

Adidas store in Tokyo
Breathe & Stop Tour, Bangkok (2011)

Other well-known models from the 1980s are: Allround, Attitude, Country, Ewing, Copa Mundial , Gazelle, Grand Prix, Handball Spezial, Jeans, Malibu, Marathon, Master, Match, Orion, Player, Rivalry, Rome, Samba , Titan, Trophy and Vienna.

Adidas group


Until the late 1990s, the Adidas segments were divided into the two main areas of shoes and textiles / accessories . In 2002 there was a breakdown into Sport Performance , Sport Heritage (Adidas Originals) and Sport Style (Y-3, Stella McCartney). In 2007, these were reduced to Sport Performance and Sport Style (Adidas Originals, Y-3, Stella McCartney, Porsche Design (2007-2018), Adidas NEO etc.). Since the takeover, Reebok has formed its own division. In 2017, Adidas sold the entire TaylorMade golf division, including the Adams Golf and Ashworth brands, to KPS Capital Partners for $ 425 million.

The following organizational chart gives an overview of the Adidas divisions up to 2007:

Adidas group
Reebok International
TaylorMade-Adidas Golf
Adidas Sport Performance
Adidas Sport Heritage
Adidas Sport Style
Adidas Golf
Adams Golf
Adidas Originals retail store
Präsentationsanzug the 2012 Olympics

At the beginning of the 1990s, Adidas began considering expanding the company location in the heart of Herzogenaurach. In 1999, 1.6 km away, the construction of the new corporate headquarters "World of Sports" began on the area of ​​a US barracks that had been vacant since 1992 in the Herzo Base district . In 2011, the research and development building named Laces , designed by the architects Kadawittfeldarchitektur , was moved into.

In 2006 the Adolf Dassler statue was erected in Herzogenaurach .

In 2016, Adidas' annual sales amounted to 19.29 billion euros, with a profit of just over one billion euros, which was 59% higher than in the previous year. The CEO Herbert Hainer handed over his position to Kasper Rorsted in 2016 .

Corporate management

The management of the Adidas Group is taken over by the Executive Board, which consists of six people. The board members are employed by the company through contracts that determine, among other things, salaries and possible bonus payments.

  • Board members:
    • Kasper Rorsted (Chairman, Board member since August 1, 2016, Chairman since October 1, 2016)
    • Roland Auschel (Global Sales, board member since October 1, 2013)
    • Eric Liedtke (Global Brands, board member since March 6, 2014)
    • Harm Ohlmeyer (Finance, Board member since March 7, 2017)
    • Karen Parkin (Human Resources, Board member since May 12, 2017)
    • Gil Steyaert (Global Operations, board member since May 12, 2017)

former board members:

  • Glenn Bennett (March 1997 - September 30, 2017)
  • Frank Dassler (from July 1, 2004 - January 31, 2018)
  • Robert Louis-Dreyfus (April 7, 1993 - March 8, 2001)
  • Herbert Hainer (March 8, 2001 - September 30, 2016 Chairman)
  • Manfred Ihle (July 1, 1998 - June 30, 2004)
  • Michel Perraudin (1989 - March 31, 2005)
  • Robin J. Stalker (February 2001 - May 11, 2017)
  • Erich Stamminger (January 9, 2006 - March 5, 2014)
  • Christian Tourres (1993 - March 8, 2001)

The board of directors is appointed and controlled by the supervisory board. The Supervisory Board consists of 16 members. According to the German Codetermination Act , half of the members must be employee representatives or company-independent representatives of trade unions . The next election to the supervisory board will take place in 2019.

  • Shareholder representatives:
    • Igor Landau (Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2009)
    • Willi Schwerdtle (Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2009)
    • Frank Appel
    • Ian Gallienne
    • Herbert Kauffmann
    • Katja Kraus
    • Kathrin Menges
    • Nassef Sawiris
  • Employee representative:
    • Sabine Bauer (Deputy Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board since 2009, Chairwoman of the General Works Council and the European Works Council)
    • Dieter Hauenstein
    • Wolfgang Hunter
    • Udo Müller
    • Roland Nosko
    • Hans Ruprecht
    • Heidi Thaler-Veh
    • Kurt Wittmann

Former members of the supervisory board (selection):

  • Alexander Popow , former swimming world champion and Olympic champion, member of the supervisory board from 2009, did not stand for re-election in 2014 for professional reasons

Shareholder structure

Shareholders proportion of
Institutional investors , including 92%


Private investors 8th %
Ownership 1 %

Status: January 2019

Financial figures of the Adidas group

in Euro
sales 23.65 billion
EBITDA 3.845 billion
Operating profit 2.660 billion
Equity 3.107 billion
dividend 3.85

Dividend subject to approval by the general meeting

As of December 31, 2019

Outfitter of international sporting events

Olympic games

In September 2007, the LOCOG Organizing Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games announced at a press conference with the Adidas management that Adidas would be the official sportswear partner for the 2012 Olympic Games and the Paralympics in London. It would be Adidas' largest investment in a single sporting event in the UK . The investment included equipping athletes and volunteers, license fees for merchandising and marketing activities in the run-up to the event. In total, more than 70,000 volunteers were equipped by Adidas.

For the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, adidas was awarded the contract to equip the German winter sports athletes free of charge after they had been dressed by Bogner without interruption since 1936 .

Major football events

The World Football Association and Adidas have been partners since 1956, and the company also provided the official match ball for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil . Adidas also has the right of first refusal on TV advertising and preferred advertising space in the World Cup stadiums. Including the 2014 World Cup, the licenses for the major football events including the Women's World Cup and the Junior World Cup cost 250 million euros.

Adidas is the manufacturer of the official match ball for numerous major soccer events. The balls are usually given their own names, including Telstar Durlast , Tango Durlast , Etrusco Unico , Adidas Tricolore , Adidas Finale , Questra , Terrestra Silverstream , Fevernova , + Teamgeist , Europass , wawa aba , Tango 12 , Roteiro , Jabulani , Speedcell , Torfabrik , Brazuca , Beau Jeu etc. The chip ball has so far not prevailed.

Adidas also sponsors some soccer teams, such as B .:




Australia / New Zealand

National teams

For the 2006 World Cup, Adidas built the Adidas World of Football stadium in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin and brought out a shoe in the jersey colors for each participating team, with an additional national or football-typical symbol on the heel. In the case of the shoe designed for Argentina, for example, reference was made to the hand of God , in the case of the Netherlands to the number 14 worn by Johan Cruyff and in England to the only World Cup victory in 1966.

Other sports

Donors of awards

Brand ambassadors


Training practice

Adidas came under fire in 2006 because of its training practice. With the Adidas must train campaign , the DGB youth denounced the low training quota of just two percent at Adidas compared to the other DAX companies . The aim of the campaign was to make the public aware of the meager training rates, including those of other large companies in Germany.

Exploitation and child labor in sweatshops

The headquarters are in Germany, while the articles are now almost exclusively manufactured outside of Germany. Most of the production was relocated to Southeast Asia, including to Yue Yuen Industrial . Like its competitor Nike, Adidas is accused by the black book of branded companies of profiting from exploitation and child labor in so-called sweat shops .

Labor rights in producing countries

Adidas has been repeatedly criticized for not respecting the labor rights of people in the production countries. For example, in 2015 it became known that factory workers in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan would be forced to work late into the night to make balls. In 2011, 2,800 factory workers of the former Adidas supplier PT Kizone were laid off in Indonesia without severance pay. Adidas refused to pay the outstanding sum of 1.4 million euros. After pressure built up around the world forced Adidas to meet with the workers, they were only offered food vouchers worth 43 euros.


In the 1980s , Horst Dassler bribed sports officials for years and influenced elections through the ISL and the Adidas International Relations Office in order to get his favorite officials into top positions. In September 2017, James Gatto, director of global basketball marketing for Adidas, was arrested in the United States. He allegedly paid bribes to high school players to move them to college teams that are equipped by Adidas.

Sponsorship Gumball 3000

Adidas supported the so-called Gumball 3000 , a private car race on European roads that has been held annually since 1999 and is considered an illegal race in Germany. In 2007, an uninvolved Albanian died in a collision with a participating vehicle whose driver had disregarded an overtaking ban. The Alban's wife succumbed to serious injuries after a few days in a coma. Only then did Adidas distance itself from the rally and withdraw from sponsorship.

Rent payments during the COVID-19 pandemic

At the end of March 2020, Adidas announced - despite several billion euros in profit from the previous year - on the occasion of the COVID-19 pandemic that it would not pay the contractually agreed rent payments for its closed retail stores.

Chief Human Resources Officer resigned on allegations of racism

At the end of June 2020, Karen Parkin , who was in office until then, announced that she would be leaving the adidas Group. The reason she gave was that by resigning, she was paving the way for change. Karen had dismissed the ongoing racism discussions after the violent death of George Floyd as "noise" (quote: "noise") during a company event of the US subsidiary Reebok . Following public protests by employees in front of the US headquarters in Portland, as well as a continuing wave of indignation and sharp criticism, Karen concluded that it would be better for the company to step down. The incumbent CEO Kasper Rorsted took over the function of personnel resources at the board level on an interim basis in July 2020.

social commitment

In June 2015, Adidas announced that it would be producing a collection of shoes in cooperation with the co-founded and co-financed organization Parley of the Oceans , the upper material of which is made entirely from recycled plastic waste and nets from the sea. Parley of the Oceans aims to raise awareness of the state of our oceans and to jointly initiate projects to protect and preserve the world's oceans. In this context, the group raffled off 50 prototypes of the shoe called 'Adidas x Parley' with media coverage. Deep-sea fishing nets provided by the Sea Shepherd organization were used for production. In November 2015, the successor 'Ultraboost Uncaged Parley' was offered in a limited edition of 7000 copies in selected sales outlets. According to their own statements, eleven plastic bottles were recycled in each pair. In 2017, according to the Adidas board member Eric Liedtke, they wanted to produce a million pairs of shoes as part of the Parley-of-the-Oceans production. Cost per couple: 200 euros.


  • Christian Habermeier, Sebastian Jäger: The adidas Archive. The Footwear Collection . TASCHEN, Cologne 2020, ISBN 978-3-8365-7195-1

Web links

Commons : Adidas  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  12. ^ AFP notification of June 8, 2005
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  16. The business of his life ., July 13, 1992.
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  32. Adidas wins in two stripes dispute. In: , April 10, 2008
  33. CVRIA, judgment of May 21, 2015, Az.T-145/14. In: , May 21, 2015
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  36. MICROPACER OG. In: , 2014
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  38. Adieu, Adidas! In: , March 8, 2006
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  40. Colorful, more colorful, Jeremy Scott's design collaborations! In: , 23 August 2017
  41. Jeremy Scott's New Adidas Fragrance Gives You Wings January 9, 2015
  42. Pharrell Williams: New Adidas Collection for a Better World, September 27, 2016
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  53. Adidas Group: Eric Liedtke succeeds Erich Stamminger. January 8, 2014, accessed August 28, 2018 .
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  56. Herbert Hainer: The man who was Adidas - manager magazin . In: manager magazin . ( [accessed on August 28, 2018]).
  57. Adidas Group: Harm Ohlmeyer succeeds Robin Stalker as CFO of Adidas AG. March 7, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2018 .
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  61. In future two more women on the Adidas supervisory board. In: March 17, 2014, accessed August 31, 2015 .
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  64. For the first time since 1936, German athletes drive to the Olympic Winter Games without Bogner equipment, January 11, 2018
  66. Low wages: New allegations against Adidas and Nike., May 2, 2002.
  67. ( Memento from February 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  68. Clean Clothes Campaign : EM sponsor does not pay any severance payments. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  69. Clean Clothes Campaign: Insulting offer of adidas food vouchers rejected by workers. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  70. Like chewing gum on a sneaker., October 31, 2015.
  71. The inventors of modern sports corruption., May 21, 2014.
  72. Has Adidas bought growth?, September 27, 2017
  73. Sponsor Adidas jumps off. In: Focus , May 4, 2007.
  74. [1] Corona crisis: Adidas no longer wants to pay rent., March 28, 2020.
  75. The rent freeze is only a small example of the deep fall of Adidas
  76. ^ [2] Employees shoo the Adidas board member out of office
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  78. On the bottom of the marketing ocean: Why Adidas is wrongly celebrated for a shoe made from ocean trash., April 3, 2017, accessed on May 11, 2018.

Coordinates: 49 ° 34 ′ 56.83 "  N , 10 ° 54 ′ 33.66"  E