Kasper Rorsted, CEO of adidas, flew out to Oregon recently to welcome Zion Armstrong into his new role as head of adidas North America. Oregon Live spoke to both execs about how Armstrong will handle the position, but also about Nike’s current discrimination scandal and whether it’s changed adidas’ practices.
When asked for his take on the scandal, Rosted implied that that issue was less prevalent at adidas.
I think when you run a company with 56,000 employees, it would be wrong to say never. But what we're very clear on is what the expected behaviour is of every individual in the organisation.
Setting a very clear tone from the top of what is acceptable behaviour is actually the best way of governing an organisation. Being clear about it, being transparent about what happens if somebody violates the cultural elements of who you want to be.
We have had hardly any instances at this stage. It doesn't mean we won't have some. But the tone is very clear from the top, be it from Zion and Mark here in America or from me globally.
As for whether adidas was using Nike’s failures as a lesson, Rorsted said that adidas preferred to focus on themselves.
[The Nike scandal] has not changed what we've done. I can't comment about what's going on at Nike. One must always to look into a mirror at your own face and ask yourself, "Are we treating people appropriately?" The reason why it's important in a global company is this: In a global company, for most people the operating language is English, but it's not their native language. So when you have a lot of people using their second language, there can be a lot misunderstanding going around. Sometimes it's not deliberate. It starts with having a framework around culture and behaviour.
Rorsted also weighed in on adidas’ involvement in the NCAA bribery case, and how the company is looking to eliminate the wage gap. You can read the interview transcript here.