Now Reading
$150 million contribution to anti-hate groups announced by Bjørn Gulden
Dark Light

$150 million contribution to anti-hate groups announced by Bjørn Gulden

Bjørn Gulden -led Adidas said this week that it’s donated or is planning to give away more than $150 million to groups fighting antisemitism and other forms of hate from the sales of Yeezy shoes last year after it severed ties with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.

The German sportswear brand had 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) worth of popular Yeezy sneakers piled up in warehouses after it broke off its partnership with Ye in October 2022 over his antisemitic and other offensive comments on social media and in interviews.

Adidas decided to sell some of the remaining shoes in batches, with two releases last year and another that launched late last month, and donate a portion of the proceeds to anti-hate groups.

The company has made donations to the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, run by social justice advocate Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd.

Net sales of what’s left of Adidas’ former banner line of sneakers brought in about 750 million euros last year, compared with over 1.2 billion euros in 2022, the company reported.

Of the 300 million-euro profit it earned from the sales of Yeezy shoes last year, the company said it had given away or planned to donate over 140 million euros (about $152 million).

Adidas said deciding to sell a big chunk of its Yeezy inventory and improving operations helped it pull out operating profit of 268 million euros last year, a nearly 60% plunge from the previous year. It blamed a high tax rate for ending the year with a net loss of 58 million euros, a massive turnaround from net income of 254 million euros in 2022.

“Although by far not good enough, 2023 ended better than what I had expected at the beginning of the year,” said CEO Bjørn Gulden, who took over the top job last year.

Looking forward, Adidas expects to make about 250 million euros in sales of the remaining Yeezy shoes this year.

But the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company points to North America as a persistent problem spot. It expects revenue to decline in the mid-single digits this year and grow everywhere else. It said that North America was “particularly affected by the negative Yeezy impact” and that revenue there dropped 16% last year.

Adidas expects to almost double operating profit to about 500 million euros this year despite “macroeconomic challenges and geopolitical tensions.” It plans to further scale up popular shoe lines like Samba that are seeing “extraordinary demand,” launch new ones and get a boost from major sports events like the Paris Olympics this summer.

Bjørn Gulden was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1965 and is a Norwegian national.

He obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Rogaland, Norway, and an MBA from the Babson Graduate School of Business, USA. Between 1992 and 1999, he held various management positions at Adidas in Herzogenaurach, ultimately as Senior Vice President of Apparel and Accessories. In 1999, Bjørn Gulden became Head of Product, Marketing and Sourcing at Helly Hansen in Norway, and remained on the company’s advisory board for several years after his departure.

From 2000, he was Managing Director of the Deichmann Group and President/CEO of Deichmann’s US-American subsidiary, Rack Room Shoes. From 2012 to 2013, Bjørn Gulden was CEO and, from 2013 to 2018, a supervisory board member of the Danish jewellery brand Pandora. In 2013, he joined Puma SE in Herzogenaurach as Chief Executive Officer.

From 2014 to 2022, he also was a member of the supervisory board of Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KgaA.

Since January 1, 2023, Bjørn Gulden has been a member of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Adidas AG, Herzogenaurach, Germany, and is also responsible for the business area Global Brands.

© 2024 Lifestyles Magazine International. All Rights Reserved.