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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 17, 2013
German sport goods major Adidas Group on Thursday announced a leadership change in India, roping in its chief operating officer from China, Erick Haskell, to head the company’s operations in the country.

The change in guard is part of its efforts to bury the ghosts of the R870-crore accounting fraud that came to light last year at its arm Reebok India.

Haskell takes over from Claus Heckerott, who led the restructuring efforts at Reebok India after the company registered a case alleging fraud by former managing director Subhinder Singh Prem and chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat. Both Prem and Bhagat have denied the charges.

In his new role as managing director of Adidas Group India, Haskell sounded keen to move on from the accounting fraud and said the scandal has had no impact on the company’s brand image in India. “The investigations (on the scandal) are on…and we are co-operating with the authorities,” he said.

“During the past year, we focussed on setting up Reebok India for a fresh start in 2013, while continuing to build on the strength and success of the Adidas brand. Erick’s proven track record in China make him an ideal candidate to lead the group’s business in India,” said Roland Auschel, chief sales officer, multi channel markets, Adidas Group.

The group is also firming up a new business agreement with franchisees based on wholesale sales deals. “Around two-thirds of Reebok franchisees have decided to stay on with us,” said Haskell.