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Adidas Investors Push for External Chief to Replace Hainer

  • Southeastern among shareholders calling for outsider
  • "The old establishment has to go:" Union Investment's Speich
Trainers and footwear sit on display inside an Adidas AG Originals store in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

As Adidas AG’s search for a new leader enters its eighth month, some investors say that only an outsider can provide the shakeup the sportswear maker needs to close its longstanding gap with Nike Inc.

An external successor to Chief Executive Officer Herbert Hainer would be best placed to help the German company catch up with its American rival, according to Southeastern Asset Management Inc. and Union Investment. Hainer, 61, has been at the helm since 2001, making him the longest-serving CEO in Germany’s benchmark DAX Index.