Puma Announce Koch Promotion to CEO

March 15, 2011

German sportswear brand PUMA have announced that Franz Koch has been promoted from his role as head of global strategy to replace Jochen Zeitz as the new chief executive officer of the  firm next month.

Koch’s intentions are expected to be to push the company’s e-commerce website in an effort to increase annual turnover to over US$5.5bn by 2015.

Former CEO Zeitz is leaving his role in order to oversee the sports lifestyle division of Puma’s owner, French retail group PPR SA, which also owns luxury fashion brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, having been appointed to the position at PUMA 18 years ago at the age of 30.

32-year-old Koch told Wall Street Journal: “We’ve gone through tremendous changes in the last three years,” adding his intention to “just focus on the long-term strategic plan”.

PPR acquired a controlling stake in PUMA four years ago, with Zeitz having attempted to close the gap to market leaders Nike and Adidas. Sales reached $3.3bn in 2005, but the company registered disappointing revenues of $3.75bn last year with Zeitz blaming tough trading conditions.

A statement from PUMA read: “Franz Koch…has been responsible for the long-term strategic group development and management of special projects such as portfolio optimisation, process re-engineering as well as mergers and acquisitions. Moreover, he co-ordinated and helped execute the company’s restructuring program in 2009 to lay the foundation for sustainable growth following the economic crisis.”

Puma’s brand ambassadors include Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt and various leading soccer stars, and the company also has partnerships with a number of national teams.