Kasper Rørsted to provide business advice at Thought Leader Series

Kasper Rørsted has been CEO of Adidas since 2016. He will be the first Thursday’s Thought Leader Series speaker since 2019. CREATIVE COMMONS/MARCO VERCH

As part of the Muma College of Business’ Thought Leader Series, Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted will speak Thursday about his experiences of becoming  CEO of one the world’s largest companies and leading the multibillion-dollar corporation’s innovative catalog of shoes and athletic wear.

Attendance for the lecture requires a free ticket that was made available March 9 to all students and faculty on Eventbrite, which sold out quickly following the announcement. Check-ins will begin at 9 a.m. in the Marshall Student Center, and Rørsted will speak from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Oval Theater.

There will be 700 people in attendance, with a mix of students, faculty, alumni and local business leaders, according to Director of Communications and External Relations of the Muma College of Business Lorie Briggs. About 45% of the audience is expected to be students, Briggs said.

Rørsted will share the stage with Dean of the Muma College of Business Moez Limayem, who will ask questions to steer the discourse of the Q&A-style discussion. Some business students will also have the opportunity to ask Rørsted questions, as well as audience members who submitted questions before the event.

Although high-profile speakers usually cost the university thousands of dollars, Rørsted didn’t cost USF a cent, according to Briggs.

The lecture isn’t the first deal Rørsted has struck with the university. In 2018, Adidas signed a $23.6 million sponsorship deal with USF, styling its sports teams with custom uniforms, apparel and footwear until the 2025-26 athletic season.

Before making deals for the sneaker titan, the Danish mogul learned the ropes of the industry by attending some of the most prestigious business schools in the world, including Copenhagen Business School and Harvard Business School.

Rørsted found his footing following a few failures in the business sphere and successfully led German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel AG & Co. KGaA to a quadrupled market capitalization. In 2016, he left the company to lead the stripes.

Having 62,285 employees worldwide, with 2,500 retail stores in over 50 countries, the German sportswear company is the largest in Europe. Rørsted’s successful leadership over the enterprise earned him the German Image Award in 2018, an award that recognizes distinguished oversight among CEOs.

Continually advancing Adidas’ influence in the shoe game and pop culture by teaming up with companies like Prada and continuing collaboration with artists such as Kanye West, Rørsted’s contract as CEO was extended to 2026 in 2020.