Franz Koch Appointed as New Puma CEO

Hi all,
Back in October, Puma announced that his CEO Jochen Zeitz had been appointed as Head of PPR unit. He will oversee the PPR sports lifestyle division. Puma was consequently looking for a new CEO. Job’s done as today, Puma appointed Franz Koch as new Puma chief executive officer.

Next month, Franz Koch will officially lead the Sports Lifestyle brand as he will replace Jochen Zeitz, CEO of Puma since 1993. Koch is a former  hockey professional and one of his main task will be to push the company’s e-commerce initiatives in order to increase Puma’s turnover to 4 billion  € by 2015.

Koch, 32, has been responsible for the long-term strategic group development and management of special projects such as portfolio optimization, process re-engineering as well as mergers and acquisitions. Moreover, he coordinated and helped execute the company’s restructuring program in 2009 to lay the foundation for sustainable growth following the economic crisis.

Koch has also strongly contributed to Puma’s long-term sustainability program and most recently, he was instrumental in developing – in close cooperation with Zeitz and the other members of the board of management – the five-year growth strategy “Back on the Attack 2011-15” with its clear mission for Puma to become the most desirable and sustainable sportlifestyle company.

Zeitz, chairman and CEO of Puma: “Having an exceptionally analytical yet most pragmatic mind, Franz Koch has been one of the key drivers of Puma’s strategic course and strongly contributed to our 2010 record sales level. Together, we have defined the company’s five-year strategic plan which will be the catalyst to tap into Puma’s envisaged sales potential of 4 billion Euros in 2015.

I am convinced that Franz is the right person at the right time and that he is the most qualified candidate and dedicated individual to take the helm at Puma. I will personally accompany Franz’ transition period and I look forward to continuing a close and trusting cooperation with him.” [Source: Sports One Source]

Franz Koch

Four years ago, PPR purchased a controlling stake in Puma in order to close the gap to market leaders Nike and adidas. Sales reached €2.4 billion in 2005, but the company registered disappointing revenues of €2.7 billion last year with Zeitz blaming tough trading conditions. [Source: Sports Business].

“We’ve gone through tremendous changes in the last three years,” said 32-year-old Koch, who added that he intends to “just focus on the long-term strategic plan”, according to the Wall Street Journal. Outgoing Puma CEO Zeitz was 30 years old when he was appointed to the role 18 years ago.

The one striking thing is Puma’s “tradition” with young CEOs. Jochen Zeitz was 30 years old in 1993 when he became CEO of Puma, and Franz Koch is 32 year old. A very bold message of dynamism sent to the sporting good industry here. Next, a strong focus on e-commerce is expected from the new CEO.

Let’s see how Puma translates this in its day to day marketing initiatives, which we expect to be cool and fun!  I wish Franz Koch all the best in his new endeavors.

Karl Lusbec

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