The Business On... Herbert Hainer, Chief executive, Adidas


Rob Green's nemesis, you mean?

Be fair: though Adidas's Jabulani World Cup ball was just a little bit controversial, blaming the England goalkeeper's howler against the USA on anything other than human error would be too charitable.



Still, not the best of tournaments for Mr Hainer's lot?

On the contrary. Yesterday Mr Hainer said he was raising Adidas's profit forecasts for the year, so strong have sales been since the World Cup. In the key match – versus Nike, on advertising – most impartial observers gave Adidas the nod, not least for its fantastic Star Wars parody video. It also sponsored a dozen teams, including the eventual winner, Spain.



But not England?

No, we went with Umbro. But don't think there's a Germany thing going on here – Adidas is putting £100m into the London Olympics.



More of an Anglophile than one might imagine?

Well, he has a bit to thank us for. His business career began with a clever little venture in his final year of university: having seen them become popular in Munich, he launched the first English-style pub – where customers stand at the bar – in his home town. That helped him get his first job at Proctor & Gamble, where he worked for seven years before joining Adidas.



So Mr Hainer knows how to pick a winner then?

Or at least how to avoid a loser, in the case of the England team. He ought to know a thing or two about football, though – now a director of Bayern Munich, he played in Germany's best amateur league in his younger days, while his brother was a professional at 1860 Munich.



Any controversial decisions?

Adidas's purchase of Reebok in 2005 did raise a few eyebrows, with the German company widely seen as having overpaid for a tired brand. The jury is still out, but Mr Hainer does seem to be turning Reebok around, albeit slowly, and it has given the company more scale and greater geographical diversity.

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