WHU General

Harm Ohlmeyer gives guest lecture at WHU

Adidas CFO elaborates on how to cope with challenging times in the sports equipment industry

In Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf’s MSc course Capital Market Theory, adidas CFO and passionate triathlete Harm Ohlmeyer visited WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management for a guest lecture. They were joined by Professor Dr. Martin Jacob, chairholder of the adidas Chair of Finance, Accounting and Taxation. In his lecture ‘Corporate Finance in times of a global pandemic’, Ohlmeyer provided exciting insights into the unprecedented challenges driven by the COVID crisis and decisions that adidas and specifically he as the CFO had to face during the last year. Leadership was crucial, according to Ohlmeyer. Among others, he noted that cash flows were the bottleneck for many companies in the industry rather than pure P&L considerations, and he stressed how operational flexibility, a global horizon, and a focus on e-commerce can be helpful during a crisis of this kind. The role of adidas’ new rating in 2020 for obtaining financing during the Corona pandemic was also touched upon.

Ohlmeyer further elaborated on the importance of sustainability considerations and the impact of the low interest rate environment, and also iterated the need to see and accept the global uncertainty and fragility that the world is currently facing, e.g., on supply chains. This is essential to navigate through these trying times, according to Ohlmeyer. He is happy that sports partly returned to a physical ‘normal’ and with it its emotions and spirit. In this realm, Ohlmeyer further focused on the fact that we have been able to learn from the crisis and stressed the importance of celebrating wins in such times.

WHU’s Master students appreciated being able to personally discuss such topics with an experienced C-level executive like Harm Ohlmeyer and addressed many questions to him during the lecture and the get-together afterwards. “I am very happy WHU has been able to deepen its cooperation with adidas, who supports our adidas Chair of Finance, Accounting, and Taxation,” said Professor Rudolf. “We are looking forward to welcoming Harm Ohlmeyer on our campus again soon”.