Subhinder Singh Prem, the former managing director of Adidas India, on Thursday indicated a “bigger issue” at the global level in the sports shoe giant that led to the abrupt termination of his job over allegations of commercial irregularities. Despite several differences between him and the global management over business operations in India, global executives were fully involved in the decision-making process, said Prem.
“There is something devious,” Prem told Hindustan Times. “I don’t know what the issue is but it is a bigger issue, it might be a global issue.”
Prem has refused to accept allegations of financial fraud by Adidas and has sent a legal notice to the company. “I am willing to stand up and fight for my honour. They have maligned India…. today the whole world is thinking that there must be something that Subhinder has done.”
The case against the company might be filed even in German courts if need be, he said.
On March 26, 2012, German sports brand Adidas announced, along with its earnings report, that India managing director Subhinder Prem and chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat have “left the company with immediate effect”.
“Around three hours before the earnings release I got an e-mail saying we are terminating you for commercial irregularities,” said Prem. He admitted to having serious differences with the global management on how to run India operations such as the induction of Indians in the sales team.
“I had already agreed to step down in an amicable manner,” said Prem. “I do not know from where did they arrived at the figure for commercial irregularity worth €125 million (Rs.870 crore).”
Prem further said that finance and accounting executives at the company’s global level visited India every quarter to check and approve the accounts.
“Everywhere in the world they had the Adidas guy as head but only in India they had me a ‘Reebok guy’ as head,” he said.
While Adidas India refused to comment, Adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer said while announcing the group's earnings in Germany on Thursday that “Due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further than we already did on Monday.”