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Adidas Says Reebok North America Head Becker Leaves in Shakeup

Adidas AG (ADS) said the president of Reebok in North America will leave the company as part of a management shakeup to help spur a revival at the fitness brand.

Uli Becker is departing after 23 years with the sporting-goods maker to “pursue new career and business opportunities,” Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Adidas said today.

Until September last year, Becker had been global head of Reebok, which has which posted sales declines in four of the six years since being bought by Adidas for $3.7 billion in 2006. He was replaced in that role by Matt O’Toole, Reebok’s chief marketing officer, as the world’s second-biggest sporting-goods maker sought to restore growth at the fitness brand.

Under plans announced today, management of the Adidas and Reebok brands in North America will be consolidated under the leadership of Patrik Nilsson. Nilsson, 49, has been president of the Adidas brand in the region since 2007.

“Our goal is to strengthen our business, to invest in our brands and to enable faster growth for both brands by winning our key consumers,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Hainer said in a statement. “This new set-up will make our group stronger and grow our business faster in the U.S.”

Reebok had its first revenue growth in almost two years in its most recent quarter. The fitness brand has teamed up with Les Mills, the Spartan Race and CrossFit Inc. to reclaim its place in the fitness pantheon.

Adidas gets about 23 percent of revenue in North America, where it seeks to overtake rival Nike Inc., (NKE) the U.S. leader in running shoes, with products such as Energy Boost sneakers.

Adidas cut its 2013 profit forecast last month for reasons that included the euro’s strength, a glitch in Russian distribution and a weak golf market.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Cruz in Frankfurt at jcruz6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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