Sajid Shamim, the brand director of Reebok at Adidas Group India, has called it a day. The resignation comes in the backdrop of the alleged Rs 870-crore fraud at Reebok India, under investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the Union ministry of corporate affairs.
Confirming the development, an Adidas Group spokesperson said, “Sajid Shamim joined Reebok India Company in 2000 and has been an important member of the organisation ever since. He held various key positions in product management and marketing and sales in Reebok India and has been a key contributor in establishing the Reebok brand in India. In the interim, the operating executives of the company, who previously reported to Shamim, will report to Claus Heckerott, managing director of Adidas Group India.”
Shamim, meanwhile, said he was quitting purely for personal reasons. “I am evaluating a few options,” he said, declining to disclose what these were.
The exit follows the departure of the Reebok team at Adidas Group India in recent months. Since the unceremonious exit this March of Adidas India’s managing director, Subhinder Singh Prem, and the chief operating officer, Vishnu Bhagat, seven to eight people are said to have resigned. These people, whose names could not be ascertained, were largely part of the Reebok team at the company.
Adidas had acquired Reebok globally in a $3.8-billion acquisition in 2005. But the merger between the two in India happened only in 2011. Globally, Reebok ranks fourth after Adidas, Nike and Puma; in India, it is the leader in the Rs 3,500-crore sportswear market, with a share of 53 per cent. It has some 1,000 stores in 325 towns and cities, which Adidas recently said, in a global announcement, that it would cut by a third. Differences between the Reebok and Adidas teams in India arose on account of the focus on the German brand rather than the market leader in a country the Herzogenaurach and Portland, Oregon-headquartered company has identified as key. Adidas’ turnover in India in 2011 (the German giant follows a January to December accounting year) was Rs 480 crore as against Reebok’s Rs 600 crore.
The German major is also keen on seeing Adidas take the lead in India, with more than 50 per cent of sales coming from the latter, persons in the know say. An Adidas India spokesperson, however, denied the company’s focus was on Brand Adidas, saying, “Adidas Group has a clear multi-brand strategy. While the Adidas brand is the multi-sport specialist, Reebok focuses on fitness and training. It is our clear intention to grow the business of both brands, as part of our Route 2015 strategic business plan.”