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Herbert Hainer

chairman & ceo, adidas ag

Herbert Hainer, Chairman & CEO of adidas AG, addresses the Boston College Chief Executives' Club of Boston at the Wharf Room at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

CEO:  adidas still expanding in Canton 

While adidas Group has been shifting Reebok International's back-office operations and jobs to South Carolina, the German company still plans to expand the division's Canton headquarters, adidas' chief executive said in Boston yesterday.

Architects are drawing up plans to enlarge the Canton campus that employs 1,200 according to adidas Group chairman and CEO Herbert Hainer.  But that expansion will come only after growth in Reebok sales, a turn-around that's been slower than expected.

Hainer acknowledged that when adidas Group acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion two years ago this week, there was much speculation that its headquarters would be consolidated into adidas' U.S. headquarters in Portland, Ore.

(clockwise, from bottom left) Robert Reynolds (Former COO, Fidelity Investments), Eric Rosengren (President & CEO, Feberal Reserve Bank of Boston), P. Steven Ainsley (Publisher, Boston Globe), Ranch Kimball (President, Joslin Diabetes Center), Martha Coakley (Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts), Peter Lynch (Vice Chairman & Trustee, Fidelity Management and Research), John Kaneb (Chairman, President & CEO, HP Hood), Patrick Purcell (President, Herald Media, Inc.), Ellen Zane (President & CEO, Tufts-New Enlgand Medical Center), Thomas May (Chairman, President & CEO, NSTAR), Ronald Sargent (Chairman & CEO, Staples) listen to Mr. Hainer's remarks.

"However, I couldn't help wonder at that time if anybody asking those questions had flown from Frankfurt, Germany, to Portland, Ore.," Hainer joked during a speech at a Boston College Chief Executives' Club of Boston event.

Asked if there were plans to move adidas' Oregon operations to Canton as part of the Reebok headquarters expansion, Hainer said he wasn't ready to discuss the issue.

When pressed for a yes or no answer, though, he responded in the negative.

Members of the media gather around Mr. Hainer.

Reebok's sales for the first nine months of 2007 declined 5 percent compared to the prior-year period, but Hainer said the division remains profitable as a revitalization to return the brand to its athletic-inspired heritage continues.

Reebok will post growth in Eurpoe, Asia, and Latin America this year, but will continue to see a U.S. sales decline because it's still realigning domestic distribution.

adidas Group is leveraging its global network to expand Reebok internationally so that the brand, whose largest foreign market currently is the United Kingdom, actually can live up to its name, hainer said.  Reebok, which has been buying back international distribution rights, is expected to have more than 3,000 stores in India, Russia and China by 2010.

Article by Donna Goodison
Boston Herald
Friday, Febraury 1, 2008