Gear & EquipmentMarch 26, 2015

Executive shuffle at TaylorMade-adidas Golf

Less than a year after taking over for Mark King as CEO of TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Ben Sharpe has left the company. A company-issued press release Thursday cited "personal reasons" for the departure.

Elevated to company president and CEO is David Abeles, an industry veteran who rejoined the company as president of TaylorMade and Adams at Sharpe's direction Feb. 12. Abeles will report directly to Herbert Hainer, CEO of adidas Group.

This is Abeles third stint at TaylorMade. He started in 1998 as general manager for Asia Pacific, then was promoted to director of sales, North America before spending six years with Acushnet (parent of Titleist/FootJoy) as VP sales and marketing. Abeles returned to TaylorMade in 2008 as executive VP and GM only to leave the company a second time in late 2013.

"David has a proven track record of success and leadership excellence," Hainer said. "I am convinced that David will lead our golf business into the next era of growth."

Hainer has a vested interest in hoping that statement comes true. A Wall Street Journal article from last September stated that, "In meetings with Adidas representatives, large shareholders have criticized the performance of Chief Executive Herbert Hainer, arguing that Mr. Hainer should have reacted faster to the steep slide in U.S. sales at its TaylorMade golf brand, according to people present at the meetings."

Another WSJ article published today noted that Adidas' stock price fell 40 percent in 2014 and that it was seeking to bring products to market at a more rapid pace. The article detailed that Adidas reported 2014 net profit of 490 million Euros, down from 787 million Euros the year before, on sales worth 14.5 billion Euros.

When Abeles rejoined TaylorMade in February, Sharpe stated: "We now have the executive talent to execute the game plan we have established for long-term success."

That success, if achieved, will ironically happen with Abeles, not Sharpe at the helm.

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