In front of around 200 students, Kasper Rørsted, Chief Executive Officer of adidas, gave a talk as part of the Dean’s, Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, finance lecture series at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management on September 6, 2018. Besides introducing “the best company throughout the world” which Rørsted said with a wink, he centered his presentation on the necessity to make the right decisions for the consumers.
Kasper Rørsted, previously CEO of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, started his lecture “Value Creation Through Consumer Obsession” by a short overview of the company’s history, which is rooted in sports. Emotional videos of the brand, the focus on sustainable strategies and new 4D technologies that were developed to produce individually customized sports shoes appealed to the numerous WHU students.
The CEO’s key learnings, whose lecture was additionally broadcasted because of the high interest to another lecture hall in Vallendar as well as to the Düsseldorf campus, were distinct and precise: promising is not to enforce one’s opinion as a manager, but rather to listen to the target customers and make the right decisions. For adidas, this would mean to focus on the consumers, to be passionate about the brand and disciplined as well as rational about the income statement. In the international context, the famous German manufacturer of sports equipment needs to analyze the different cultural markets and adapt their marketing strategies appropriately.
The guest lecture took place as part of the Master in Finance Program “Capital Markets Theory” lecture series held by Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf at WHU. It offered the students the opportunity to exchange with the speaker.