Adidas: Earning Its Stripes in the U.S.

Nike makes it tough for us, concedes CEO Herbert Hainer, who is determined to oust its U.S. rival as the world's leading sports brand

Adidas-Salomon CEO Herbert Hainer, a former semipro soccer player, still has an athlete's single-mindedness. Since assuming the top spot at the German sports brand in 2001, he has boosted sales and profits by nearly 40%. Now, Hainer's goal is to unseat Nike (NKE ) as the world's leading sports brand. Key to that will be improving Adidas' business in the U.S. To that end, Hainer has been spending the last month in the U.S., which he sees as rife with opportunities for increasing market share. As Nike challenges Adidas' dominance in the global soccer market, Hainer is counterattacking, going after Nike's stranglehold on basketball.

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