Adidas loses Olympic Games director to Polo Ralph Lauren

Adidas is losing its global Olympic Games director, Erica Kerner, less than a year before the London 2012 event opens.

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Kerner, who is also “head of London 2012” for Adidas, is leaving to become Polo Ralph Lauren’s first vice president of marketing for the Asia Pacific region.

Kerner will end her seven year tenure at Adidas next month, during which time she oversaw the company’s sponsorship of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. She was appointed to officially lead Adidas’ sponsorship of London 2012 in 2009.

Before joining Adidas in 2004, Kerner spent ten years with Nike and, as director of international marketing for retail, led the team that opened the Niketown store on Oxford Street, London.

There are no plans to replace Kerner, but Lee Gibbons, head of event operations for London 2012, will take over Adidas’ day to day relationship with LOCOG. The overall London 2012 project will continue to report into Nick Craggs, marketing director for Adidas Area North.

Adidas is hoping its tier one London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsorship will help it overtake Nike to become the leading sportswear brand in the UK. Currently Nike holds an 18% share of the £4bn UK sportswear market, compared with Adidas’ 15%.

As the Games’ official sportswear partner, Adidas will design and produce kit and apparel for Team GB, Paralympics GB and officials. The company has drafted in Stella McCartney as creative director to oversee the design of the official Games sportswear.

The brand also hopes its sponsorship will increase sports participation and hopes to open more than 100 “AdiZone” outdoor gym, football, tennis and basketball before the Games open next year. It is hoped the AdiZones will ensure that desire for the brand remains after the Games.

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