HR manager Amanda Rajkumar is leaving after two and a half years

Amanda Rajkumar

The Adidas HR manager only started the job in early 2021.

(Photo: adidas / Hannah Hlavacek)

Munich Under the leadership of the new boss Björn Gulden, the troubled Adidas group continues to restructure the board. Human Resources Director Amanda Rajkumar is leaving the company after just two and a half years. The 51-year-old Brit is leaving the board on July 15, as Adidas announced on Wednesday.

Officially, it was said that Rajkumar did not want to extend her contract, which expired at the end of the year. However, she was considered a shaky candidate. In industry circles it was said that the chemistry between her and Gulden was not right.

Adidas is in a crisis. CEO Kasper Rorsted was forced to leave after a series of profit warnings last year. The mood has improved somewhat under Gulden, which came from the currently more successful competitor Puma. However, the numbers are still bad, in the first quarter the Dax group was even in the red.

Two other board members have already had to leave

Gulden has now replaced a good part of the management team. The head of HR is the third departure from the board since taking office. Sales director Roland Auschel and brand boss Brian Grevy had already left in March.

Rajkumar’s duties are to be taken over temporarily by Michelle Robertson. According to industry circles, she definitely has a chance of moving up permanently. The British woman, who is considered down-to-earth, has been with Adidas for many years. It helps in this function if you know the company well, according to industry circles. Rajkumar joined Adidas from BNP Paribas while under Rorsted.

There she faced great challenges. There were heated internal Black Live Matters debates at Adidas, as a result of which predecessor Karen Parkin left Adidas after 23 years. Rajkumar launched a Data Diversity Dimension Project. Adidas wants to be the first DAX company to record the diversity of the company by recording ethnicity, gender and other employee characteristics on a voluntary basis.

Under Rajkumar’s aegis, Adidas has “made great progress in promoting a deep culture of inclusion and improving leadership skills,” said Thomas Rabe, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Rajkumar thanked for “very inspiring years at Adidas”.

Adidas is still suffering from the Kanye West scandal

At the annual general meeting, investors asked about the role of the HR director in the scandal surrounding US rapper Kanye West. It was mainly about allegations that the group had not reacted quickly enough when the affair became known. Adidas had stopped the cooperation with West after his anti-Semitic statements, among other things.

In an anonymous e-mail, which was probably written by former employees, Adidas was accused of having found out early on about other escapades by West but did not intervene. According to the head of the supervisory board, Thomas Rabe, the allegations were “not substantiated” in an internal investigation. According to industry circles, the issue played no role in Rajkumar’s departure.

Gulden should now have largely completed the personnel reorganization at the top. But the operational problems remain. In good years, Adidas had achieved sales of well over a billion euros a year with West’s “Yeezy” collection. These proceeds are now missing. In the first quarter, Adidas sales therefore only stagnated at 5.3 billion euros, while the competition was able to increase strongly in some cases.

Admittedly, Adidas started selling stock from the “Yeezy” collection in May. The group has not yet given any figures, but according to estimates in the industry, there was great interest. However, these are only one-off effects. In addition, Adidas had announced that it would “donate a significant amount of the proceeds to selected organizations that work against discrimination and hatred, including racism and anti-Semitism”.

More: What the new Adidas boss has already changed – and what he still wants to achieve

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