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Puma Chief Executive Franz Koch to Leave Two Years Into Job

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Puma SE, Europe’s second-biggest sporting-goods maker, said Chief Executive Officer Franz Koch will depart two years into the job as the company shakes up its senior management to address declining earnings.

Koch, who joined in 2007 and became CEO in 2011, will leave at the end of March by mutual consent, Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Puma said today. The exit of the 33-year-old follows that of Chairman Jochen Zeitz, which was announced in October.

Puma is “entering a new phase in its development and is changing its top management structure to take on those challenges,” according to today’s statement.

The maker of 90-euro ($117) Whirlwind sneakers in October named PPR SA Managing Director Jean-Francois Palus as chairman, choosing an executive from its majority investor to succeed Zeitz. PPR, which owns 82.4 percent of Puma, may ask for more restructuring measures and seek to raise its stake, Volker Bosse, an analyst at Baader Bank, said in a note to clients.

Puma fell 0.9 percent to 223.30 euros at 4:40 p.m. in Frankfurt trading. PPR eased 0.3 percent to 141.40 euros in Paris, where the company is based.

Koch, who succeeded Zeitz as CEO, was previously Puma’s head of global strategy. He joined the company from Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm.

New COO?

Puma has hired Andy Koehler, a former manager of Adidas AG, as chief operating officer, Manager Magazin reported today. Katja Schreiber, a spokeswoman for Adidas, confirmed Koehler has left the company. Kerstin Neuber, a spokeswoman for Puma, declined to comment on the report.

Puma’s Oct. 23 appointment of Palus came a day before the company announced it expected earnings this year to be “significantly below” those of 2011 as consumers cut back on spending in the wake of Europe’s financial crisis. The sporting-goods maker plans more cost reductions to combat a weakening consumer climate in Europe and China, it said at the time.

Analysts expect a 45 percent drop in net income this year, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Cruz in Frankfurt at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at

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